Accused of using anti-Muslim slurs on video before beating a motorist until he lost consciousness, an off-duty NYPD cop was recently charged with assault as a hate crime, aggravated harassment, and falsely reporting an incident.
At approximately 11:45 a.m. on January 16, off-duty NYPD Officer Riggs Kwong was driving his Honda Accord when he blocked Abdul Motalab’s Toyota RAV4 from making a U-turn. Shortly afterward, Motalab drove in front of Kwong and cut him off as the off-duty officer attempted to make a left turn.
Recording the incident on his cellphone, Kwong shouted at Motalab, “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…”
Motalab exited his vehicle to take a photo of Kwong’s license plate and then got back in his vehicle. As Kwong allegedly continued to use racial slurs, Motalab then got out of his RAV4 and slapped the hood of Kwong’s vehicle.
According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, Kwong exited his car before spitting in Motalab’s face. After Motalab spat back at Kwong, the off-duty officer reportedly punched him several times causing Motalab to fall to the ground.
Kwong allegedly continued punching Motalab while using anti-Muslim language. As Motalab stood up, Kwong knocked him unconscious.
After calling 911, Kwong reportedly gave a false statement by accusing Motalab of throwing the first punch. But according to surveillance footage, Motalab never threw a punch at Kwong.
Initially charged with assault after the incident, Kwong was immediately suspended from the department. On Monday, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced that Kwong has been 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,” District Attorney Gonzalez said in a recent press release. “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.”
On Monday afternoon, Kwong pleaded not guilty in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Raymond Rodriguez. Kwong was ordered to return to court on March 22, 2022.