An NYPD sergeant who attacked two people while they were in police custody pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor assault charges Wednesday, prosecutors said.
Sergeant Phillip Wong, 37, a 15-year-veteran of the NYPD, was sentenced to two years probation by New York State Supreme Court Judge Curtis Farber, officials said. He will also have to attend anger management or counseling classes and do 70 hours of community service, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney said.
The charges stem from two arrests Wong was involved in while on the job that devolved into violence. In one incident in October of 2019, Wong punched a handcuffed 48-year-old man who was in a holding cell in an Upper Manhattan police precinct, after the man spit at officers. The man needed stitches above his eye, prosecutors said.
In April of 2020, during an arrest at an Upper West Side subway station, Wong pinned a 35-year-old man down with his knees and bounced on his back, punched him in the side of his face and taunted him, yelling, “I don’t give a f**k if you can breathe or not!,” according to prosecutors. The 35-year-old used anti-Asian slurs and kicked Wong in the leg before he struck back.
Wong earned more than $130,000 in salary, overtime and other pay in 2021, according to New York City payroll data. He has an upcoming disciplinary hearing on March 22, according to NYPD records. An NYPD spokesperson said Wong was on modified duty and declined to comment further. His attorney, Andrew Quinn, didn’t immediately return a request for comment — neither did the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the union that represents Wong.
Police officers are rarely fired for substantiated cases of misconduct on the job, and criminal charges for workplace conduct are exceedingly rare. Wong was charged by former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance last summer, though current District Attorney Alvin Bragg promised greater accountability for police misconduct as part of his campaign last year.
“Law enforcement officials are sworn to serve and protect their communities, including New Yorkers in their custody,” Bragg said in a statement. “In this case, Sergeant Wong violated not only his oath – but the law – during the violent arrests of two New Yorkers, on two separate occasions.”