This confrontation, between a NYPD traffic agent and a car owner in New York's Chinatown, was caught camera earlier this month. 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. However, it was Zhu who ended up behind bars: Traffic Agent Confrontation in Chinatown.
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 witnessesChapman called for police officers, who arrested Zhu and charged him with obstruction of governmental administration and harassment. After spending 9 hours in jail, Zhu, who has no record, got a lawyer for this criminal case which could send him to jail for a year.
She told them " 'You f------ Chinese, go back where you came from. All of you f------ Chinese,' " according to one witness.
Mr. Zhu says on October 8 around 3:15 PM on Lafayette Street in Manhattan, NYPD traffic agent Chapman began the process of ticketing Zhu's parked car. He says he told her he still had one minute left on his NYC parking receipt, displayed on his car's dashboard. He also told Chapman that his wife was buying another ticket at that moment at the Munimeter.
Zhu says that the agent told him she would ticket him anyway.
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.
I don't know even know if Mr. Zhu deserved the parking ticket. Hell, at one point or another everyone has gotten slapped with a parking violation they think they didn't deserve. I've received way too many to count. But that doesn't really matter here.
It's one thing to argue over a parking violation. People get into it with traffic agents all the time, in every city, over parking tickets. And yes, sometimes people get nasty. But busting out the racist comments? And getting physical? Chapman should be fired. So why is Zhu the one facing jail time here?
Ironically, he didn't even receive the parking ticket that started the whole thing.