Originally published on June 11, 2015, at NationofChange.org
An undercover New York detective and a biker were convicted of second-degree assault, coercion, and riot on Tuesday in connection to the ruthless beating of a motorist caught on video. Although NYPD Det. Wojciech Braszczok and Robert Sims can be seen in the video smashing the SUV’s windows and attempting to pull the victim’s wife from the vehicle, the judge acquitted them of the more serious charges of gang assault and first-degree assault. Det. Braszczok acknowledged that he lied about his presence at the attack and did not call 911 after the beating.
According to footage taken from a biker’s helmet cam on September 29, 2013, a large gang of bikers drove recklessly through the streets of Lower Manhattan running red lights, driving on sidewalks, and slapping pedestrians. The NYPD reportedly received 200 complaints of bikers driving recklessly through Manhattan before they got on the Henry Hudson Parkway. According to his testimony, a motorist named Alexian Lien witnessed several motorcycles run a red light and almost hit a woman carrying a baby.
Driving an SUV with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, Lien attempted to call 911 when several bikers including Edwin Mieses pulled up alongside their vehicle screaming profanities, making a slit-throat gesture, and shattering his driver’s side mirror. As the bikers surrounded their vehicle, Lien’s wife, Rosalyn Ng, threw a plum and a half-empty bottle of water at them. Another biker named Christopher Cruz cut off their Range Rover and slowed down so fast that his motorcycle’s rear tire tapped Lien’s front bumper.
Lien stopped his SUV and immediately found himself surrounded by over a hundred enraged bikers. As they continued hitting his vehicle and slashing his tires, some of the bikers dismounted their motorcycles and approached Lien’s SUV while making threatening gestures. In fear for his family’s life, Lien hit the accelerator and ran over Mieses in order to escape. Mieses, who had been driving on a revoked license, suffered a fractured spine and punctured lung.
As the bikers chased Lien’s SUV for a few miles, Lien’s wife repeatedly called 911. After exiting the highway, Lien’s vehicle became trapped in traffic and slowed to a halt. Reginald “Reggie” Chance immediately dismounted his motorcycle, took off his helmet, and shattered Lien’s window. Multiple bikers pulled Lien from the SUV and began ruthlessly beating him in the street. Det. Braszczok, who was off duty at the time and riding with the bikers, reportedly smashed the SUV’s rear window while Lien’s wife attempted to protect her daughter.
While threatening Lien’s wife, Robert Sims and Jason Brown managed to open her door and attempted to pull her out of the vehicle. She kicked at them while screaming, “There’s a baby in the car!”
The assault ended when a courageous bystander named Sergio Conseugra and two other people intervened. While ordering Sims and Brown to release Lien’s wife, Conseugra huddled over the bloodied driver to prevent the homicidal bikers from killing Lien.
Braszczok and many of the other bikers fled before police arrived. Although Braszczok was not working undercover at the time, he claimed that he did not attempt to help Lien’s family because he did not have his gun or badge on him. Braszczok, who worked undercover as an activist during Occupy Wall Street, also did not bother to call 911 or report his presence at the attack.
After video of the assault was uploaded online, eleven bikers were eventually charged with attacking Lien and his family. In exchange for five years probation, bikers Allen Edwards and Edwin Rodriguez pled guilty to second-degree assault and first-degree rioting. In exchange for a prison sentence of 3½ years, Jason Brown pleaded guilty to assault and rioting after admitting to beating Lien with his helmet.
On March 25, Craig Wright, Kalik Douglas, James Kuehne, and Clint Caldwell pled guilty to felony assault and riot. In exchange for their guilty pleas, Wright, Douglas, and Kuehne received two years in prison, while Caldwell only received a prison sentence of one year.
Christopher Cruz pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and first-degree riot, while Reggie Chance pleaded guilty to felony assault and criminal mischief. Cruz received four months in jail and five years probation, while Chance was sentenced to two years in prison.
On Tuesday, Braszczok was convicted of second-degree assault, coercion, riot, and criminal mischief. He faces up to seven years in prison and has been suspended from the NYPD. On the same day, Sims was convicted of gang assault, attempted assault, second-degree assault, coercion, riot, and criminal possession of a weapon. Sims faces a minimum sentence of 3½ years in prison.
Braszczok and Sims remain free on bail until their scheduled sentencing in August.