Wojciech Braszczok, a plainclothes New York Police Department detective, has been arrested in connection with a violent altercation between a driver and a group of motorcyclists last month. Braszczok has been charged with rioting and criminal mischief, and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.
The incident was partially captured on camera, and footage has been viewed widely online. After an apparent minor collision between one rider and the driver, who was in a Range Rover with his wife and 2-year-old-daughter, the vehicles can be seen slowing to a stop. As the Associated Press reported, the driver, Alexian Lien, apparently felt threatened after police said some of the riders began to attack his car. He sped off, hitting one of the motorcyclists. That man, Edwin Mieses Jr. of Lawrence, Mass., was severely injured and could be paralyzed as a result.
The riders then chased after Lien, and when they caught up to him, removed him from his car and beat him, according to authorities. His family was not harmed.
Investigators told the Associated Press they have video evidence of Braszczok punching and kicking the Range Rover. His attorney, Phil Karasyk, had previously said that plainclothes officers have to be careful not to reveal their identities:
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.
Several other motorcyclists have been charged in connection with the incident: Christopher Cruz, 28; Robert Sims, 35; Reginald Chance, 38; and Clint Caldwell, 32. For past coverage of this incident, continue reading here.
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