IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

NYPD sergeant pleads guilty to assaulting suspects after punching 2 men in custody

Phillip Wong was sentenced to two years’ probation, anger management counseling and 70 hours’ community service. 

A New York City police sergeant pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault charges connected to two suspects who had been arrested in Manhattan, authorities said.

Philip Wong, 37, punched a 48-year-old man in a Harlem holding cell in October 2019 and then attacked another man, 35, during an April 29, 2020, arrest on the Upper West Side, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

In that latter incident at the 96th Street subway station, Wong was watching officers under his supervision arrest a man who had punched another passenger, authorities said.

As the suspect was being led away, "he yelled obscenities and anti-Asian slurs at Wong, then kicked Wong in the leg," prosecutors said in a statement.

That's when Wong and another officer took the handcuffed man to the ground and the sergeant knelt into his back, authorities said. The man was said to have continued to taunt Wong before he cried out, “I can’t breathe!”

Prosecutors quoted Wong as saying he didn't care "if you can breathe or not" before he punched the man's face.

Prosecutors had asked for 60 days in jail, calling Wong a repeat offender.

In the first case, Wong and two other officers took a suspect to a holding cell in Harlem on Oct. 4, 2019, when the man kicked the cell door and spit at the officers, officials said.

Wong then punched the man in the face, leading to his being taken to a hospital, where he was treated for a laceration above his right eye, which required stitches, officials said.

At Wong’s sentencing, also on Wednesday, state Supreme Court Judge Curtis Farber ordered him to serve two years of probation, undergo anger management counseling and perform 70 hours of community service, officials said. Supreme Court is the top criminal court in New York.

Wong is still employed by the police department but is in a disciplinary process that could lead to his firing, a spokeswoman for the district attorney said. The police department would confirm only that Wong is employed and on modified duty.

Wong's attorney and a representative for the Sergeants Benevolent Association could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

“Law enforcement officials are sworn to serve and protect their communities, including New Yorkers in their custody,” Bragg said. “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.

"Our Office will continue to investigate and prosecute police violence, and we encourage any victims or witnesses of similar conduct to report it to our Police Accountability Unit."