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Commentary :: Education
First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
13 May 2006
Article claims drunken disorderly and combative conduct by Huibin's friends.
Activist Claims Excessive Police Force in Quincy
“Two Sides to Every Story” Says Quincy Police Captain
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May 5, 2006

by Adam Smith
It's her and her friends' story versus the police's.

Karen Chen, an activist in Chinatown who claims she has never been in a fight in her life, said she and a few friends were pepper-sprayed, roughed up, and arrested by Quincy Police for no reason.

But Quincy Police, in a police report, claim that Chen was acting disorderly and resisting arrest. The report also states that she was helping a drunk friend who was trying to punch a police officer during a chaotic arrest in which officers feared being attacked.

The Quincy Police Department won't comment on the case except to say it will continue with its charges against Chen and her friends. It also promised to investigate whether the officers involved used excessive force once it receives a formal complaint from Chen, who works for the Chinese Progressive Association, or the others involved. As of May 3, the Quincy Police Department said it had not received a complaint.

One of the few details of the incident that Chen and the police do agree on is the time and place: April 30 at 1 a.m. in Quincy, near the Super 88 market.

According to Chen, it all began when she and some friends left a party. They were meeting up with a friend, Quan Thin, who had just gotten in an argument with his girlfriend. He was sitting in a parked car on Hancock Street when Chen and the others arrived. They saw Thin, who was drunk, being questioned by a Massachusetts state trooper. Thin claims the trooper approached and interrogated him for no reason, and then, according to Chen and the others who arrived at the scene, a Quincy police officer suddenly pulled up, sprung out of his cruiser, and sprayed Thin, Chen, and another friend with pepper spray.

Chen said she and her friends were screaming in fear and pain when their eyes began burning, to which police responded by pushing them down to the ground and cuffing them.

"She was screaming because her eyes were hurt," said Joanna Ng, Thin's girlfriend, about Chen being pepper sprayed. "He (the police officer) said, 'If you don't shut up, I'm going to arrest you.' I turned around and all of a sudden there were three officers on her. I kept yelling, 'Stop, stop,' because she's so tiny and there's no reason to have three police officers on her."

Two days later, Chen, who's 5' 1'' and 115 pounds, showed a reporter that her eyelid was still purple and swollen and her face still scratched and scabbed. She said her body was still sore and bruised from being pushed to the ground.

But the Quincy Police describe a different turn of events. In a police report written by officer Robert E.
Curtis, Curtis states that he entered the scene after responding to a request to assist the state trooper, who was questioning Thin.

Curtis states that when he approached Thin, who was drunk, Thin started shouting profanities and swinging punches at him.

"He opened the door very quickly, and jumped out still yelling. (His) eyes were wild looking and he had both fists clenched," wrote the officer. "I felt threatened that he was about to come around the car door and attack me."

Curtis wrote that to defend himself and the trooper, he sprayed Thin with pepper spray, and "one of the females (apparently Chen) leaped into the fray and she was inadvertently sprayed." He claims later in the report that she kicked and punched at the police.

He also said that Chen's friends approached him while he was trying to restrain Thin. To prevent them from attacking, he wrote, he sprayed them again with pepper spray. "I was threatened and in fear for the trooper and myself," he wrote in the report.

Thin, age 27, and Chen, age 26, were each charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and so was one other person, Tat M. Yuen. Another friend, Howard Ng, was charged with being a disorderly person.

Chen and Thin said they plan to fight the charges and will file a complaint of police misconduct. Chen, Ng, Thin, and another person at the scene, Mei Chung, all claim that no one threatened the police during the incident, though they all acknowledge that Thin was drunk that night.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police deferred questions to the Quincy Police Department.

Chung said that she did not see the state trooper use any physical force during the arrests but that Quincy police did.

In response to hearing what the police said in the report, Chung said: "I think they're all lying, and they're trying to defend themselves."

Captain John Dougan of the Quincy Police Department said that he has not received a formal complaint from Chen or the others involved in the incident. He said that once the department receives a complaint, and after the criminal trial for Chen and the others is concluded, the complaint "will be fully investigated."

He added: "I think if you read the report, there are two sides to every story."
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Re: First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
13 May 2006
Finally we have both sides to this pedestrian nightime brawl between drunks and the Police.

I really don't know why these irresponsible alcoholics do not write an apology to the police. perhaps they can negotiate a dropping of charges in return for that apology which could be published in Quincy community papers and in the Chinese and Vietnamese ethnic press. (I believe the gentleman who was beating his girlfriend and who was drunk was a Vietnamese, though whether he is an American or an illegal immigrant shoudl be thoroughly investigated). Likewise, the immigration status of the defendants should be investigated. Larger and larger percentages of crime are committed by individuals who abuse the hospitality of the United States. The defendants here are probably unaware or don't care that Quincy was the home of the Adams family, one of America's most distinguished founding families. Quincy certainly has gone downhill.
Re: First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
13 May 2006
that cop story doesn't seem especially plausible

more of the "he hit my fist with his face" variety
Re: First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
14 May 2006
The "I was just standing around with my friends when we were jumped, pepper sprayed, and beaten by police. Now me and my communist organization are outraged" story doesn't wash either. Especially if you know Huibin.
Re: First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
14 May 2006
Dude why are you calling her by her middle name.
Re: First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
14 May 2006
Didn't know she was your girlfriend, but she goes by Huibin Amelia Chew. If you are so concerned about it, maybe we should all get together and you can explain your case for a matter of public record.
Re: First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
14 May 2006
May I inject common sense here? Even if you think you are right, do not argue with a cop. Cheerfully agree with whatever he or she says. Focus on survival. Call your lawyer if you have to. Why people want to get hit unnecesarily is beyond me. Cops are human. They are like most people except they are armed and trained to subdue people. Society wants to have armed cops. I want armed cops. They do make mistakes. Deal with the mistakes later. That is common sense and survival. It is irrelevant whether or not you think that is just. It is how it is in almost every nation in the world.
Re: First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
14 May 2006
yes, Flipside and Rockhead both have points, but I rarely think it's reasonable to take police testimony at face value, any more than I think it's reasonable to take arrestees testimony at face value
Re: First Even Handed Account of Huibin's Police Brutality Story Published
14 May 2006
Cops should stick to what they know best, writing fiction!!