The Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) of Boston has been mobilizing against a case of police brutality against four young Asia Chinese Americans in Quincy, Masschussetts. Yesterday protesters showed up at the Quincy District Court and outside the city hall to register their anger over the incident.
It was on April 30th that Chinese Progressive Association organizer Karen Chen and three of her friends were assaulted by the Quincy police, while coming home from a traditional engagement party.
The CPA reports:
"While legally parked by the curb next to Super 88 supermarket, they were approached by a state trooper. As they talked with the state trooper, a Quincy police car pulled up. Without warning, a police officer jumped out and pepper-sprayed three of them directly in the eyes at close range. Karen, who is just over five feet tall was then tackled by three male officers; receiving a black eye, a swollen face, and bruises from the attack. Another friend was knocked unconscious.
Throughout the incident, the police repeatedly yelled at the victims, used profanities, and called them names. Four innocent Asian Americans were taken to the police station in handcuffs and falsely charged with resisting arrest and/or disorderly conduct."
Karen Chen , a community organizer for the Chinese Progressive Association , said in an interview with the Boston Globe that the late-night encounter left her with bruises, including a black eye. She said she has suffered nightmares and feels emotionally scarred.
Chen faces criminal charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
``It's unbelievable it would happen to me. . . . I'm not a troublemaker," said Chen.
Joanna Ng, who was with the group, said the group was pepper-sprayed without warning, and that officers were ``shoving [Chen] to the ground and elbowing her head to the concrete, arresting her. . . . She did nothing to provoke the attack of three grown men."
1) Drop the false charges
2) Compensate the victims for lost work and other damages
3) Suspend the officers without pay
4) A public apology from the Quincy police department
5) An open and public investigation of this case
6) Diversify the police force and implement sensitivity training
7) Public inquiry into police misconduct and the use of force
About a fifth of the city's population of approximately 90,000 is of Asian descent, according to the latest local census.
The following comes from The Bridge (Cambridge and Somerville community newspaper)
Mayor: FBI investigating Quincy 4
Quincy Mayor William Phelan revealed today that the F.B.I. has agreed to his request to undertake an investigation of the April 30 incident in which four young Chinese-Americans were arrested, beaten and sprayed with chemical mace by Quincy police officers.
Since that incident, Karen Chen, Quan Manh Thin, Tat M. Yuen and Howard Ng have been known as the Quincy Four. At 9:00 this morning, they appeared in court for a second pre-trial hearing.
More than a hundred people jammed the second floor courtroom and corridors at Quincy District Court to support them.
Defense and prosecution lawyers conferred for an hour before appearing before a judge who set September 14 as the next date to hear pretrial motions.
The crowd then filed quietly out of the courthouse and gathered on the front lawn.
An impromtu meeting was conducted in Cantonese, the Chinese dialect which most of the people understood. Remarks were then translated into English.
Attorney Zenobia Lai of Greater Boston Legal Services explained what had happened and answered questions. A representative of the Chinese Progressive Association said that it was important to "pack the courtroom" every time the Quincy Four had to be there.
Around 75 of the people marched five blocks from the courthouse to Quincy City Hall. There they picketed and chanted in English and Chinese for around half an hour. Then sixty entered the lobby to request a meeting with the mayor.
Within minutes, several police officers arrived, but there was no apparent tension. At 11:30 Mayor Phelan sent word that he was ready to meet. The people were directed to go up the back stairs to his office.
The mayor told his guests that there had been "repeated conversations between the [police] chief and the FBI" before the Feds decided to investigate the case. "The process of that investigation, I'm not familiar with," he said.
Karen Chen said that up to then they had not been given any idea what was going on with their case. "We got beaten up for doing nothing," she said. Then "we filed a complaint in May, but never even got 'acknowledgement' of the filing from the police."
One resident said, in translation, that she was "not comfortable with the FBI doing the investigation." The mayor replied that he was sure they were competent and that only government could carry out such an investigation.
There was no indication how long the FBI would be in town, or when they would make their report.
The scope of the FBI investigation is also secret. But they are probably investigating the Quincy Four's supporters as well as the Quincy Police.
Mayor Phelan said that he did not want to have a civilian police review board in Quincy. "What we're dealing with here was more an isolated incident than a systemic problem."
One woman whose remarks had to be translated for the mayor, questioned that judgement. "There are things that happen in the community that may not rise to the level that you hear about them," she said.