NYPD Cop Indicted on Hate Crime Charges for Allegedly Assaulting Man While Using Anti-Muslim Slurs

The 50-year-old cop, who's reportedly been suspended, is now facing multiple charges in connection with what's been described as a road rage incident.

NYPD logo is pictured hanging on wall

Image via Getty/YUKI IWAMURA/AFP

NYPD logo is pictured hanging on wall

An NYPD officer was arraigned this week on an indictment charging him with hate crimes in connection with allegedly punching a man until he was unconscious while using anti-Muslim slurs.

50-year-old Riggs Kwong, as reported by the New York Daily News, pleaded not guilty in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Raymond Rodriguez on Monday. Kwong is charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, third-degree assault, third-degree menacing, second-degree aggravated harassment, falsely reporting an incident, and improper use of colored or flashing lights.

“This defendant is charged with brutally assaulting a man until he lost consciousness while using anti-Muslim slurs following a traffic altercation,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a press release on Monday. “We have no tolerance for hate-motivated violence in Brooklyn, and the alleged conduct is especially reprehensible because the defendant is a law enforcement officer. The prosecution of hate crimes is a priority for my office, and we will vigorously seek accountability and justice in this case.”

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The incident itself is said to have taken place on Jan. 16 at around 11:45 local time, with the defendant (who was off-duty at the time) allegedly blocking the 32-year-old driver of a Toyota Rav 4. The alleged victim is then said to have followed the defendant’s Honda Accord to an intersection, where the defendant was making a turn. After the alleged victim cut him off, per the district attorney’s office, Kwong videotaped himself saying to the man, “I’m trying to make a left here on the service road and this terrorist is terrorizing me, you’re upset because I didn’t let you make a u-turn, Mr. Mohammed…Al Qaeda, Terrorist, ISIS…”

The slurs allegedly continued as the man took a photo of the defendant’s license plate, with the defendant accused of ultimately punching the man “several times” until he fell to the ground. The defendant then allegedly “continued to punch him and use anti-Muslim language.” When the victim got back to his feet, Kwong is alleged to have punched him again, this time causing the man to fall to the ground and lose consciousness.

According to the district attorney’s office, surveillance footage shows the defendant punching the 32-year-old man “without the victim ever punching the defendant.” An initial 911 call from the defendant, however, allegedly saw the off-duty cop falsely claiming that the victim had thrown the initial punch.

Kwong, who is also reported to have been suspended from the NYPD, was released without bail this week and is set to return to court next month. 

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