According to one veteran police reporter and author, the NYPD’s Public Information Office likes to credit its own officers for their good deeds over members of other law enforcement agencies, even if that means stretching the truth. A lot.
In his weekly online column NYPD Confidential, Leonard Levitt details a purported insiders account of last week’s heroic talk down of a suicidal man from the edge of the Verrazano Bridge.
The difference between the official story put out by the press and what Levitt says really happened?
Levitt writes that it was in fact MTA Bridge and Tunnel officer Eddie Fung who spent four hours talking down despondent civilian Lin Huan Quiang, not Officer Yi Huang of the NYPD’s 5th Precinct in Chinatown – as had previously been reported by multiple news organizations.
He points out that neither a Daily News editorial on Lin’s rescue, nor the NYPD Public Information Office’s account of the incident even mention MTA Officer Fung, although both reports seem to take pains to note that NYPD Officer Huang and Lin hail from the same village in China.
While a piece from the Staten Island Advance’s website, which served as Bay Ridge Odyssey’s primary source about the incident, does acknowledge Officer Fung as responding to the scene, it also seems to play up Officer Huang’s role, including highlighting the fact that Lin and Officer Huang had both emigrated from the same province.
Furthermore, Levitt chronicles the tribute NYPD ESU officers paid to Fung last Thursday, apparently for not receiving the “credit he deserved,” as the uncelebrated Cantonese-speaking hero who talked a disconsolate man out of a desperate act of self destruction finally began to receive proper recognition:
They were the ESU cops who had responded to the bridge and realized that Fung had not received the credit he deserved. On Thursday some of them went to the Bridge and Tunnel officers’ administrative building on the Staten Island side of the bridge to congratulate the unsung hero.
Officer Fung wound up receiving a certificate of appreciation from the NYPD ESU Unit ‘s Truck 5, as reported by Staten Island Advance.