QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man accused of saying “Go back to China” to a family of Asian descent and then twice striking one of them with his car was released with conditions at a court hearing Thursday.
John Sullivan, 77, of Quincy, was deemed by a judge to be dangerous but was released to home confinement with GPS monitoring, with exceptions for medical and court appointments. He is also barred from driving.
Sullivan had been held without bail since his initial arrest Dec. 2.
He previously pleaded not guilty to charges including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle collision causing personal injury, and violating civil rights. On Thursday he pleaded not guilty to an additional charge of assault and battery to intimidate based on race, a hate crime.
Sullivan's attorney, Patrick Donovan, said he strongly disputes the allegations.
“This is appalling what has happened to him,” Donovan said in a telephone interview.
According to law enforcement’s account of events, Sullivan was driving near the post office in the city just south of Boston late on the morning of Dec. 2 when he exchanged words with a group of pedestrians apparently upset by his speed.
Sullivan then allegedly said “Go back to China,” before striking a 38-year-old man who was with his sister and her three children with his vehicle and driving about 50 yards with the man on the car hood.
Sullivan again said “Go back to China” and struck the man a second time, this time knocking him into a construction ditch, according to police.
He drove away but was apprehended a short time later.
Police summoned an ambulance but the man was not transported. His sister told media outlets he suffered a concussion and other injuries.
Sullivan's attorney said there's no evidence of a hate crime, and an eyewitness who made a recording of events did not hear his client say what's he's accused of saying.
“The video does not portray what the alleged victim said happened,” he said.
He also said his client’s car barely moved when it struck the man, who had been pounding on it so hard that he left dents.