Staten Island Neighbor Dispute Leads to Attack, Arrest

A Staten Island man says he was kicked in the back, then sucker-punched by his neighbor after a dispute over their shared driveway on June 30

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Thursday, Aug 16, 2012  |  Updated 5:35 PM EDT
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SI Neighbor Dispute Leads to Attack

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A Staten Island man says police ignored home security video of his neighbor attacking him and did not arrest the assailant for weeks after the incident.   

Lam Chan said he was kicked in the back, then sucker-punched by his neighbor on Netherland Avenue after a dispute over their shared driveway on June 30. 

Chan said his neighbor Gonzalo Cruz was playing basketball with his kids in their shared driveway, and he believed Cruz was blocking him from passing through freely.
 
In his home security video, Chan is seen moving his vehicle closer to the net as if to block Cruz from playing, and and then kicking the basketball over the fence.
 
As Chan walks back in Cruz's direction, Cruz kicks Chan's backside, then punches him in the face and neck, the video footage shows. 
 
"I went to the doctor, and I had a large bruise on the right side of my chin," said Chan. "My throat was also bruised internally." 
 
Cruz told NBC 4 New York he reacted violently because he felt Chan was threatening him.
 
"He kicked my kids' basketball over the fence," he said. "He came at me."
 
When Chan went to police on July 2, officers initially ignored the home video he brought to them and instead issued disorderly conduct summonses to both Chan and Cruz, Chan said. 
 
"I tried many times to contact the police department on many occasions without success," Chan said in Cantonese as a friend translated for him. "We couldn't get in to see the detective. We weren't able to file the police report for several days.”
 
He believes police brushed off his complaint because he could not communicate with them in English. The NYPD said they tried to follow up with Chan after he filed the complaint but that he was uncooperative. They could not immediately say whether they had a Chinese-speaking officer try to contact Chan. 
 
Ultimately, on Aug. 8, police arrested Cruz for misdemeanor assault.
 
Chan's summons for disorderly conduct has not been dropped. 

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