On the weekend of September 29th, a group of motorcyclists were caught on camera due to a road rage incident in which 11 riders were ultimately charged for various offenses for allegedly attacking a man who was driving in an SUV with his wife and child. Due to the victim’s facial injuries healing so well, the charges against most of the riders are being reduced.
It appears that ten of the riders will have the first-degree assault and gang assault charges lessened to attempted assault and gang assault according to prosecutors who made the announcement on Friday in the Manhattan Supreme Court; this group of ten does include off-duty undercover NYPD Detective Wojciech Braszczok.
‘The victim’s facial wounds look to be healing in a way which does not constitute facial disfigurement under the law,’ said Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass.
According to media reports driver Lien had suffered cuts to his head and needed stitches. Steinglass went on to state that the charges will likely be formally reduced after Lien’s next medical checkup.
Initially, the riders could have been facing up to 25 years but are now looking at a maximum of 15 years should they be convicted.
The 11th rider, Christopher Cruz, will not have his charge of second degree unlawful imprisonment modified.
The video was captured on a helmet cam from another motorcyclist and shows the riders boxing in Lien in his SUV along the West Side Highway and after they caught up to him on busy W. 178th Street in Manhattan. Several riders got off their bikes and bashed in the SUV’s windows with their helmets.
One of the accused is rider Allen Edwards who has maintained that he was trying to stop the violence; however, he was indicted too. According to his lawyer, Edwards “was the voice of reason and was the most reasonable, courageous person there, to stand up to these people who he’s not friends with. He doesn’t know these bikers.”
The video shows a man who is believed to be the undercover cop Braszczok pulling up alongside the right of the Range Rover. During a court hearing on October 9th, his lawyers claimed that he never went within 12 feet of the vehicle and also claimed that the window was already broken.
Prosecutors told the court that Braszczok “took part in a brutal and brazen attack and that while other members of the bike gang hauled Lien out of his car and set upon him, Braszczok continued to ‘terrorize’ his family.”
John Arlia, lawyer for Braszczok, said that videos of the incident will exonerate his client who he said was being targeted because he was a detective. The judge did agree with the lawyer that pictures of Braszczok in court should not be allowed.
Mr Arlia said that he was involved with the NYPD intelligence division which deals with ‘infiltrating various organizations’ and ‘to disclose his identity would jeopardize his life, his families.
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