LOWER EAST SIDE – Today, Council Member Margaret S. Chin joined the family of Shun Kwong Leung, a 63-year-old Chinese American senior who was fatally struck by a bicyclist on the corner of Hester and Essex streets, to urge the New York County District Attorney’s office to seek justice and accountability for this tragic incident.
“I stand with the Leung family to urge the District Attorney’s office to reconsider their decision not to prosecute, and to join our community to seek justice for Shun Kwong Leung,” said Council Member Chin. “Mr. Leung was one of many seniors in our community who regularly visit Seward Park for exercise and relaxation. With seniors making up 39 percent of pedestrian fatalities in New York City, it is imperative that we do all that we can to prevent one more innocent senior from turning into yet another statistic.”
On July 29th, Mr. Leung was violently knocked to the ground by a bicyclist speeding southbound on Essex Street, causing a major head injury. He died from his injuries shortly after his family visited him at the hospital. At the time of the collision, Mr. Leung was returning home after a routine exercise at Seward Park.
Following the incident, the initial police accident report and media reports claimed that Mr. Leung was crossing at the red light. In response, the Leung family worked closely with Council Member Chin to determine the true details of the case and set the record straight.
Council Member Chin sent a letter to NYPD Commissioner James O’ Neill calling for a full and comprehensive investigation. Meanwhile, the Leung conducted their own investigation, asking each of the local businesses for security camera footage of the incident.
After their investigation, the NYPD Commissioner’s response letter confirmed that the cyclist had indeed disobeyed a steady red signal on Hester Street, causing the fatal collision. The NYPD Commissioner also stated that the investigation was referred to the District Attorney’s office for “appropriate attention.”
After Council Member Chin’s office reached out, the District Attorney’s office informed the Council Member that they declined to prosecute, and that the case was closed.
“Thank you Margaret Chin, Councilwoman for District 1 for your presence and support during this difficult time,” said Amy Leung, Mr. Leung’s sister. “We, the family of Shun Kwong Leung, are here to refute the false allegations made by the bicyclist who ran down Shun Kwong. We are here now to demand that all reports be amended and corrected in light of this new evidence. We are demanding justice on behalf of Shun Kwong.”
To prevent more families in New York City from having to suffer from the heartache of losing an elderly loved one to a preventable crash, Council Member Chin made an urgent request to the District Attorney’s office to join the community to seek justice for Mr. Leung and his family, and prosecute the individual responsible for this senior’s tragic death.