Police failures led to boro woman’s death: $15M suit

Yongwei Guo, widower of murder victim Qian Wu, has notified the city that he will be suing the NYPD for $15 million over the department's handling of his repeated requests for orders of protection to keep Wu's alleged murderer from getting anywhere near her.
By Connor Adams Sheets

The husband of the Flushing woman brutally murdered and eviscerated in the hallway of her Flushing apartment building in January 2010 has notified the city that he is filing a $15 million lawsuit against the NYPD for allegedly ignoring his repeated pleas to help her in the weeks before her death.

Yongwei Guo says he had on three occasions requested that police renew an order of protection barring Huang Chen — the man accused of killing his wife, Qian Wu — from coming near her, but was denied each time. His suit, which will be filed in Queens Supreme Court, alleges that the Police Department’s failure to respond may have killed his wife.

“My wife is a qualified taxpayer. She paid the taxes, but when she needed assistance from the government, the government disappointed her,” Guo said via telephone Tuesday through a Chinese translator. “Because of the negligence of the police, eventually my wife was brutally murdered. I called the police three times, but they didn’t come to help her.”

City Law Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Thomas acknowledged the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon.

“Our office recently received the official legal papers, and we are reviewing them thoroughly,” Thomas said in a statement. “This involves a tragic matter.”

Shang Dai, an attorney for Guo, alleges that the police did not do their part to protect Wu, whom Chen allegedly stalked for years. Wu had already successfully filed an order of protection against Chen June 1, 2006, after he choked and punched her in the face after her employment agency was unable to secure work for him, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office. The order was automatically reactivated several times, but had lapsed by the time of her death, according to police.

“We think there may be some negligence on the part of the police. These people went to the police three times because they were so desperate for a protection order, and they were just kicked back and forth between the Police Department and the DA,” Dai said. “In the face of these documents and the evidence, something should have been done. Nothing was done.”

Chen allegedly followed Wu into the hallway of her apartment building, at 135-32 40th Road, bashed her head in with a hammer and cut her body open with a utility knife, police said. It was the first time Wu had left the apartment in days.

Chen allegedly then pulled out some of her organs, leaving a gruesome scene a neighbor later discovered with her heart and lungs nowhere to be found, police said. Chen allegedly fled the scene and was later caught by police after checking in at New York Hospital Queens for wounds police believe occurred during the murder, according to the DA.

Dai said the amount of damages was determined based on research into the amount sought in other, similar cases, where a person loses a spouse to murder after an order of protection request has ]been ignored. Dai said the decision was also based on the impact Wu’s death had on Guo’s life, and the manner in which she died.

“The husband will suffer a lot,” Dai said. “The victim was suffering for half hour before she died. The blood was flooding. That victim suffered pain and suffering, and the husband will have to bear this in mind for the rest of his life.”

Chen was charged with Wu’s murder but declared unfit to stand trial in April 2010 by two psychiatrists, a ruling that has not changed since. He is institutionalized.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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