MyFoxNY newsman Ti-Hua Chang reports on a video that shows a New York City traffic agent — a parking enforcement officer, I think we’d call her in Denver — who can be seen intimidating, allegedly cursing and making racist statements and possibly striking a Chinese man, in Manhattan’s Chinatown district. I saw this first in an email, then on the new AAPI social news site, Rice St.
The agent gave a parking ticket to the man, who claimed to Ti-Hua Chang he tried to explain that there was still a minute left on the meter (ain’t that everyone’s nightmare of a parking ticket?) and that his wife was down the block paying for more time.
An ugly confrontation between an NYPD traffic agent and a car owner in Chinatown was caught on camera. According to witnesses, the agent allegedly struck, cursed at, and made racist comments against Qiang Nian Zhu, who says he was just trying to explain that he was parked legally. He then ended up behind bars.
Security camera video shows the traffic agent charging at a woman in who complained the agent was not being fair about a parking ticket. The agent, Twana Chapman, was surrounded by other traffic agents and then cursed at all the people around her, according to witnesses
She told them ” ‘You f—— Chinese, go back where you came from. All of you f—— Chinese,’ ” according to one witness.
… The video shows Mr. Zhu putting his hand over the registration sticker on his windshield so it cannot be scanned for a ticket. Then Traffic Agent Chapman appears to hit him and is pulled back by another traffic agent.
Mr. Zhu, a burly man, blocks then puts his hands back into his sweatshirt so he could not, he says, be accused of striking the smaller Ms. Chapman. Several people witnessed the attack and say the agent clearly struck Mr. Zhu.
Chapman arrested Zhu for obstruction of governmental administration and harassment. It appears more from the video that she was the one doing the harrassing. We’ll see how this plays out in the courts — he could go to jail for a year.
But he won’t be doing any jail time (or paying any penalties) for the parking ticket that started the whole incident. Witnesses at the scene say that one of the other traffic agents — possibly her supervisor — who was on the scene with her tore up the ticket on the spot.
That certainly begs the question of Zhu’s guilt as a parking offender in the first place.
When the Fox report was shared on an Asian American Journalists Association email list, one journalist said she’d keep an eye out in Chinatown (where she apparently lives) and pass along any updates from the community.
A reporter from another New York TV station noted, “If you contest any parking ticket online at nyc.gov you will be offered a 40-50perc (roughly) reduction on the ticket. Little known city policy.”
That’s cool, both that the reporter would share this tip, but also that cross-network competition isn’t stopping the exchange of information among peers.