A man who was caught on camera mocking an Asian-American detective is being sued by the detective’s union, the Detectives’ Endowment Association, for civil damages. The suit, which was filed on April 20, is believed to be the first of its kind, according to The New York Post.
Union attorney James Moschella told the Post that the victim, NYPD officer Vincent Chung, suffered “emotional trauma” as a result of the verbal attack, which occurred on March 11.
That evening, Chung was monitoring a public demonstration near the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan when his assailant, who the Detectives’ Endowment Association subsequently identified as Terrell Harper, approached him and began spouting racial slurs and invoking racial stereotypes.
In bodycam footage released by the Detectives’ Endowment Association, Williams stares hard at Chung as he shakes his hand as though seasoning food and repeats “Soy sauce? Soy sauce?” in an exaggerated Chinese accent. Later in the 46-second clip, he also calls Chung a “godd*** cat eater” and a “dumb motherf*****,” tells Chung to “suck a dog’s d***,” and makes fun of the shape of Chung’s eyes.
So far, Harper has evaded arrest.
“Looking at the video, that type of hate directed towards myself as an Asian American, is just disgusting,” Chung, a 16-year veteran of the NYPD, told NBC New York. “Given the current climate of Asian hate, a verbal assault like that on a uniformed NYPD detective only leads to violence.”
He also pointed out the irony of the setting.
“I was surprised that an organization or demonstration protesting for racial justice and equality suddenly turned to an anti-Asian beratement for over 15 minutes,” he said.
Chung claims that he is not interested in benefiting financially from the suit, but rather in raising awareness of anti-Asian racism, which is on the rise across the United States. Between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021, the organization Stop AAPI Hate received 3,795 reports of related hate crimes.
“All I care about is the apology,” Chung said. “No matter how much is awarded, I’m donating it to some Asian aid society or anti-Asian hate society.”
Chung also thanked the Detectives’ Endowment Association for its support in preparing and filing the lawsuit. In addition to monetary compensation, the suit also demands an explanation for Harper’s alleged actions.
“Considering the increase in violence throughout the city against Asian-Americans, we must put racists on notice,” Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo told ABC 7. “And we have to salute this detective for showing great restraint.”
Harper has reportedly been arrested for making terroristic threats and perpetrating aggravated harassment in the past.
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