With spying charges behind him, NYPD officer now fighting to be reinstated

Sep 26, 2023, 5:11 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A suspended New York City police officer who had been accused — then later cleared — of spying for China is fighting to be reinstated, but the department wants him fired for refusing to be interrogated by the bureau of internal affairs exploring possible disciplinary.

The fate of the officer, Baimadajie Angwang, now rests with an NYPD disciplinary judge who is considering arguments made before her Tuesday.

The police department argues Angwang should be fired for insubordination, saying he willfully disobeyed orders to submit himself to questioning in June. That came two months after Angwang filed a lawsuit against the city saying he was wrongfully arrested when he was taken into custody in September 2020 by authorities with guns drawn as he prepared to report for duty at his Queens precinct.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Jan. 19 that it was dropping all spying charges against the officer, saying prosecutors had uncovered new information warranting their dismissal. That ended a two-year ordeal for Angwang, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Tibet, who had been accused of spying on expatriate Tibetans in New York on behalf of officials at the Chinese consulate in the city.

Despite his long legal ordeal, Angwang said on the stand Tuesday that he still wants to rejoin the force.

“I still want to be a police officer. I still want to serve,” he said.

Angwang said he refused to appear at the June 5 questioning because he was advised that the order was unlawful because his new attorneys were denied additional time to confer with him and get up to speed with the case. Police also rejected requests for a witness list and other documents ahead of the hearing, which was to focus on any wrongdoing that warranted discipline because of his interaction with Chinese officials in New York.

The lawyer representing the police department, Penny Bluford-Garrett, argued that “taking orders” was part of the job, and that the department’s internal affairs bureau “can investigate you for anything.”

The U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn had initially claimed that Angwang began working as an agent for China in 2018 and was secretly supplying information on Tibetans pushing for their homeland’s independence from the communist government. It said he had worked to locate potential intelligence sources and identify potential threats to Chinese interests.

Tibet has been an especially sensitive issue for communist China.

There was no allegation that Angwang compromised national security or New York Police Department operations.

Angwang, 37, was assigned to an NYPD precinct in Queens as a community liaison.

“Does he deserve to lose his job? The answer to both questions is absolutely not,” said his lawyer, Michael Bloch.

Instead, he said, the department should say, “Thank you for your service, sir, and welcome back.”

Angwang’s lawyers, however, contend that the interrogation was a setup to entrap the officer, despite having his federal case dropped by the Justice Department earlier. An internal affairs lieutenant testified that he had prepared a list of 1,700 questions for Angwang.

Angwang was first notified on May 17 to appear five days later for questioning. But his attorney got a postponement until June 5, giving Anwang time to find new attorneys.

United States News

China’s President Hu Jintao, shakes meets with singer-songwriter, Barbra Streisand, left, and...

Associated Press

Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, dies at 100

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the diplomat with the thick glasses and gravelly voice who dominated foreign policy as the United States extricated itself from Vietnam and broke down barriers with China, died Wednesday, his consulting firm said. He was 100. With his gruff yet commanding presence and behind-the-scenes manipulation of […]

7 hours ago

File - A truck passes oil pump jacks at dusk near Karnes City, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. On W...

Associated Press

US economic growth for last quarter is revised up to a 5.2% annual rate

Shrugging off higher interest rates, America's consumers spent enough to help drive the economy to a brisk 5.2% annual pace from July through September.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

A US Navy plane went into a Hawaii bay. Underwater video shows its tires are touching a coral reef

KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) — Tires from a large airplane that’s been stuck in a Hawaii bay for more than a week are resting on parts of a reef, according to video the U.S. Navy released Wednesday as it figures out a plan to remove the aircraft. There were no injuries to the nine people […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Utah Food Bank volunteers load groceries for the needy at a mobile food pantry distribution ...

Associated Press

Total GivingTuesday donations were flat this year, but 10% fewer people participated in the day

NEW YORK (AP) — Nonprofit organization GivingTuesday estimates that donors gave $3.1 billion this year on what has become one of the most important fundraising days of the year — the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Donations were up $20 million on Tuesday, a 0.6% increase over last year before adjusting for inflation, the nonprofit said. GivingTuesday […]

8 hours ago

(Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)...

Associated Press

US Navy warship shoots down drone launched by Houthis from Yemen, official says

A U.S. Navy warship sailing near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait shot down a drone launched from Yemen, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Maui officials on standby to stop heavy rains from sending ash into storm drains

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Maui officials were on standby Wednesday to prevent ash from August’s deadly wildfire in Lahaina from flowing into storm drains after forecasters said a winter storm could bring heavy rain and strong winds to the island. The National Weather Service said rain falling at a rate of more than 1 inch […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

With spying charges behind him, NYPD officer now fighting to be reinstated