Quincy man who allegedly yelled ‘go back to China’ and then struck a man with his car is freed on conditions

His conditions of release include home confinement subject to GPS monitoring and an order to refrain from driving.

John Sullivan, 77, pictured at a dangerousness hearing on Dec. 8. The Quincy resident is accused of striking a man with his vehicle. Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

A Quincy man accused of shouting “go back to China” at an Asian American family before striking one of them with his car last week has been released following a dangerousness hearing Thursday.

Judge Neil Hourihan found 77-year-old John Sullivan dangerous but agreed to release him on several conditions, including home confinement subject to GPS monitoring, no contact with the alleged victims, and no driving, according to The Boston Globe. He is permitted to leave his home for court and medical appointments.

Sullivan was also ordered to provide $10,000 personal surety before being released, according to the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office.

The background

Desiree Thien told the Globe that she was leaving a Quincy post office with her three children and her brother, George Ngo, last Friday when Sullivan told the Vietnamese American family to “go back to China.” During the confrontation, Sullivan allegedly struck Ngo with his car and drove a short distance with Ngo clinging to the hood.

After the car came to an abrupt stop and Ngo was off the hood, Sullivan allegedly struck the man a second time, sending him flying into a nearby construction site, according to the DA’s office. Sullivan is accused of then fleeing the scene.


Ngo, 38, suffered a concussion and multiple injuries, according to Thien. 

Sullivan previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a civil rights violation, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle collision causing personal injury.

He also entered a not guilty plea for an additional charge of assault and battery to intimidate based on the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability, according to the DA’s office. 

The hearing

Patrick Donovan, Sullivan’s attorney, said during Thursday’s hearing that his client has “major health concerns,” according to the Globe. Sullivan was using a wheelchair at Thursday’s hearing and appeared to fall asleep at times, the newspaper reported.

“I don’t think he’s a danger to anybody other than anybody here, if anything it was an issue with this car,” Donovan said, according to the Globe.

He also contested allegations that Sullivan had hurled slurs at the family, adding: “Nobody else [aside from Ngo and Thien] heard any racial slurs, nobody heard any screaming. None of that was reported; the eyewitness did not report any of that.”


Quincy police officer Patrick Watkins, who responded to the 911 call, said during the hearing that besides Thien and Ngo, no other witnesses had referenced Sullivan’s alleged use of anti-Asian slurs when speaking with police, according to the Globe. 

Assistant District Attorney John Murphy told the judge the alleged civil rights violations are “disturbing,” the Globe reported. Sullivan’s record also includes pretrial probation in 2018 for threats to commit a crime, as well as a case in 2005 for witness intimidation, Murphy pointed out.

“I think these facts are troubling, judge,” he said. “I think he’s a danger to these individuals, I think he’s a danger to the community.”

While Hourihan found Sullivan dangerous, he added: “I do find that there are circumstances upon which he can be released into society,” according to the Globe

Sullivan is next due in court for a pretrial conference on Feb. 10.


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