Video, 911 call will ‘tell a different story’ of alleged Quincy hate crime


QUINCY − The attorney for a man accused of telling an Asian victim to “Go back to China” before hitting him with a car says a video of the incident and an audio recording of a 911 call will “tell a different story” of what happened on Washington Street last week.

John Sullivan, 77, of Quincy, was scheduled for a dangerousness hearing in Quincy District Court on Wednesday morning. His lawyer, Patrick Donovan, asked that it be moved to Thursday to fit in the live testimony of a Quincy police officer. A judge granted the request and the hearing was rescheduled.

“There’s a video, there’s a 911 call. … I think it’s going to tell a very different story and I’ll be speaking more on that tomorrow,” Donovan told a Patriot Ledger reporter Wednesday.

John Sullivan, 77, of Quincy, appears in Quincy District Court on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

John Sullivan, 77, of Quincy, appears in Quincy District Court on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

Sullivan, of Granite Street in Quincy, is accused of yelling at a family of Asian Americans outside the Washington Street post office last week before allegedly hitting one of them with his car and pushing the man into a construction ditch.

He was charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a civil rights violation, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash causing personal injury.

He was arraigned last week and has been in custody since. Thursday’s hearing will determine whether he is too dangerous to be released while he awaits trial.

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Police say Sullivan was driving in the area of the Washington Street post office Friday morning when he “exchanged words” with pedestrians in the area about the speed at which he drove through the neighborhood, a spokesperson for Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office said. He reportedly screamed at the family to “Go back to China” before hitting the Asian man with his car.

The victim was pushed onto the hood of the vehicle, a police report says, and Sullivan allegedly drove with him on the hood for about 50 yards. The car stopped at the intersection of Foster Street, where the man was able to get off the hood. He was then told to “Go back to China” a second time, hit with the car again in a “fast and deliberate” manner and pushed into a ditch that was under construction, police said.

John Sullivan, 77, of Quincy, appears in Quincy District Court on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

John Sullivan, 77, of Quincy, appears in Quincy District Court on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

Quincy police officer Patrick Watkins wrote in a police report on file in Quincy District Court that two people told him they “witnessed the entire incident.” Watkins wrote that the victim was “covered in dirt and appeared to have sustained injuries to one of his legs.” He declined being taken to a hospital by ambulance.

“Sullivan fled the scene,” the police report says, and a witness followed him to Quincy Avenue in Braintree, giving Quincy police updates on his location. Sullivan was then involved in a car crash on Quincy Avenue and arrested.

The victim’s sister, Desiree Thien, told police she was recording the incident when Sullivan “knocked the phone out of her hand.” Thien later told WCVB, The Patriot Ledger’s media partner, that it was her brother who was hit by the car. He was with Thien and her three children when they saw Sullivan speeding down the road, she said, and he racially harassed and threatened the five of them.

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“I felt very angry because I’ve never had direct racism towards me,” Thien said. “He said, ‘Go back to China. I’m going to go into the post office and come back out in five minutes. If you’re still here, I’m going to kill all of you.'”

Thien recorded video of the aftermath near the construction site and recorded Sullivan on camera before police said he fled the scene. Employees of the Naughton construction company, who were working nearby, helped the victim out of the ditch, police said.

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Reach Mary Whitfill at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Dangerousness hearing in alleged Quincy hate crime moved to Thursday

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