The undercover NYPD detective who said he did not witness a biker struck by an SUV or the road rage incident that followed has been arrested on a felony charge in connection with the attack.
Detective Wojciech Braszczok, 32, was charged with riot and criminal mischief, the NYPD announced.
"In the last few days, serious charges have been brought against several defendants in last Sunday's attack," Erin Duggan, a spokesperson for the New York County District Attorney's Office, told Fox 5 News. "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."
Braszczok joined the pack of riders following the black Range Rover up Manhattan's West Side Highway after it struck motorcyclist Edwin Meises Jr. because he thought there had been a hit-and-run, said attorney Phil Karasyk with the Detectives' Endowment Association on Monday. He said he later saw the bikers attacking the SUV but didn't see the motorist pulled from the vehicle and beaten, Karasyk said.
But video reportedly shows the detective pounding the vehicle with his fist and smashing the glass, the New York Post reported, citing sources.
Video captured parts of the encounter, including the moment when about two dozen riders slowed down, swarming the SUV after the driver and a biker bumped. Some dismounted and approached the vehicle, and police said some bikers began damaging the Range Rover.
The driver, Alexian Lien, in the car with his wife and 2-year-old child, took off, striking Mieses before heading north. His wife said they had no other choice but to flee.
Mieses suffered two broken legs and spinal injuries that may leave him paralyzed.
The bikers pursued the driver until the SUV got off the highway and got stuck in street traffic. The video showed one biker smashing the driver's window with his helmet. Police said the group then pulled Lien from the SUV and beat him, although that part isn't shown on the video. He required stitches.
On Monday, police nabbed another biker in connection with the brawl. Craig Wright, 29, of Brooklyn, was arrested on charges of gang assault, assault and unlawful imprisonment, police said. It wasn't clear if he had a lawyer. A telephone call to his home was not answered.
Three other bikers have been charged so far, and police continue to investigate. Lien has not been charged.
The detective was off-duty when he joined the Sept. 29 rally, Karasyk said. While off-duty officers are expected to act if they see a crime, undercover officers do so only in rare circumstances.
Karasyk said the detective, who had no gun or badge with him, was conscious of cases where officers blew cover only to be suspended or dismissed for doing so.
"He had no other option, so he drove away," he said.
The detective did not report his presence there until three days later. Chief police spokesman John McCarthy said the officer was stripped of his gun and badge while internal affairs investigates the delay.
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