An off-duty police officer has been indicted on charges of assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment for an alleged attack on a driver during a traffic altercation in Brooklyn, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

The altercation happened after officer Riggs Kwong, of the 70th Precinct, allegedly blocked Abdul Motalab, 32, from driving down Church Avenue toward Ocean Parkway, near the intersection of McDonald Avenue and Church Avenue, on Jan. 16, according to an investigation by the DA’s office.

Motalab allegedly followed Kwong’s car to the intersection of Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway, and as Kwong was making a turn onto the service road at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway Motalab allegedly drove in front of his vehicle, cutting him off.

Kwong, 50, allegedly videotaped himself stating to the victim, “I’m trying to make a left here on the service road and this terrorist is terrorizing me, you’re upset because I didn’t let you make a U-turn, Mr. Mohammed…Al Qaeda, Terrorist, ISIS…”

Motalab got out of his car to take a photo of the Kwong’s license plate and then got back in his vehicle, while Kwong allegedly continued to use racial slurs. Motalab then got out of his vehicle and slapped the hood of the Kwong’s vehicle, and Kwong got out of his vehicle.

Kwong allegedly spit in the Motalab’s face, who spat back at him. Kwong then allegedly punched the victim several times, causing him to fall to the ground and continued to punch him and use anti-Muslim language.

The victim stood up and Kwong allegedly punched him again, causing him to fall to the ground and lose consciousness.

Kwong called 911 and stated that he was an off-duty police officer, and allegedly falsely stated that the victim threw the first punch and that he then punched the victim back.

Kwong allegedly made the same claim to NYPD officers who responded to the scene. Video surveillance allegedly shows Kwong punching the victim without the victim ever punching the defendant.

Motalab was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. He was arraigned and released without bail.

Kwong was arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice on an indictment in which he is charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, third-degree assault, third-degree menacing, second-degree aggravated harassment, falsely reporting an incident and improper use of colored or flashing lights.

He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on March 22, 2022.

Gonzalez said Kwong was charged with brutally assaulting a man until he lost consciousness while using anti-Muslim slurs following a traffic altercation.

“We have no tolerance for hate-motivated violence in Brooklyn, and the alleged conduct is especially reprehensible because the defendant is a law enforcement officer,” he said. “The prosecution of hate crimes is a priority for my office, and we will vigorously seek accountability and justice in this case.”

Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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