Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Detective arrested in NYC motorcycle-SUV melee
First Published Oct 09 2013 08:44 pm • Last Updated Oct 09 2013 08:47 pm

New York • An off-duty, undercover police detective was arrested as fallout from a burst of motorcyclist mayhem reached a new level, with investigators saying the off-duty officer was shown on video hitting and kicking an SUV before bikers attacked its driver.

Wojciech Braszczok, who was off-duty when he joined a motorcycle rally that spiraled into violence, was expected to be arraigned Wednesday. He surrendered Tuesday to face riot and criminal mischief charges, New York Police Department spokesman John McCarthy said.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

There was no response to phone messages left with Braszczok’s attorney, Phil Karasyk. He had previously said the 10-year NYPD veteran only witnessed other bikers attacking the vehicle.

But investigators discovered video evidence showing Braszczok punching an already damaged back window, then twice kicking the side of the SUV before leaving the scene, according to two people familiar with the case. The people weren’t authorized to discuss the inquiry and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

The arrest added to the complexities of the Sept. 29 episode, which authorities say began with a reckless motorcycle group ride on a Manhattan highway. Ultimately, one motorcyclist was run over, and the SUV driver was dragged from behind the wheel and beaten on a street.

Before Braszczok’s arrest, four other bikers were criminally charged. The latest was arraigned Tuesday on gang assault and other charges.

But late Tuesday, a fifth person, Clint Caldwell, was arrested on gang assault and other charges. A phone number for the 32-year-old wasn’t listed at the address provide by police and it wasn’t clear if he had an attorney.

"As we said from the beginning of the investigation, the NYPD and the district attorney’s office are methodically scrutinizing the evidence to build the strongest possible cases in our continuing effort to hold accountable those responsible," said Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

NYPD internal affairs investigators began looking into the undercover detective’s conduct because he didn’t report having been at the rally until three days later. The expectation that police officers will act if they see crimes isn’t the same for undercover officers.

The encounter, captured partly on a helmet-mounted-camera video that was posted online, began when about two dozen riders surrounded the Range Rover after it bumped a biker on the West Side Highway. Some riders dismounted and approached the SUV, and police said some bikers began damaging it.


story continues below
story continues below

SUV driver Alexian Lien took off, running over motorcyclist Edwin "Jay" Mieses Jr., of Lawrence, Mass. The impact broke Mieses’ legs and caused spinal injuries that may leave him paralyzed.

Lien’s wife has said he fled to protect her and their 2-year-old daughter. Lien hasn’t been charged with any crime.

The bikers pursued the SUV. After it ducked off the highway and got mired in street traffic, motorcyclists shattered the driver’s-side window, pulled Lien out and beat and kicked him, police and prosecutors said. Lien needed stitches.

The motorcyclist arraigned Tuesday, Craig Wright, punched Lien through the broken window and joined in stomping him on the street, Assistant District Attorney Samantha Turino said. A judge set Wright’s bail at $100,000.

Wright’s lawyer, Mitchell Elman, said Wright would fight the charges.

"There should be no rush to judgment," Elman said.

According to the undercover detective’s account, he saw motorcyclists attacking the SUV but didn’t see anyone harm Lien, Karasyk said Monday. The detective also didn’t see the SUV hit Mieses, the attorney said.

Carrying no badge or gun, and aware that officers have sometimes been suspended or fired for blowing their covers, "he had no other option, so he drove away," said Karasyk, who works with the detectives’ union.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.