Undercover detective accused in biker-SUV brawl faces judge - FOX 35 News Orlando

Undercover detective accused in biker-SUV brawl faces judge

Posted: Updated:

COLLEEN LONG and JENNIFER PELTZ | AP

NEW YORK (AP) — An undercover police detective accused of punching out an SUV window during a motorcycle rally that descended into violence was unmasked Wednesday in a courtroom where he was confronted with serious assault charges.

But Detective Wojciech Braszczok's lawyer insisted he would be exonerated by the very video prosecutors say incriminates him in the Sept. 29 melee.

"The allegation is that he struck the rear portion hatchback window, which has a gaping hole already in it; it's already destroyed," attorney John Arlia said. "Under the law, it's a fatal flaw. You can't break what's already broken."

Arlia said the video clearly shows Braszczok didn't participate in the eventual attack on the SUV driver and was nowhere near him. Braszczok hasn't been charged with assaulting the driver, Alexian Lien, who authorities say was pulled from his Range Rover and beaten on the street by other motorcyclists.

Braszczok, who appeared in court sporting a beard and wearing a hooded sweatshirt and camouflage pants, was charged with assault and criminal mischief.

Cameras were barred in the courtroom because Braszczok's lawyer said his safety would be jeopardized. Braszczok hid his face in his hood when he left court after posting bond.

Braszczok, a married father of two, has been on the job for a decade. He has worked in the New York Police Department's intelligence division, quietly infiltrating and investigating. His lawyer said he has served "valiantly."

But prosecutors said Braszczok was an active participant in the attack.

Braszczok was off duty when he joined the rally of more than 1,000 motorcyclists. Police say the bloody encounter was touched off when a motorcyclist and Lien's SUV bumped. Video captured at the scene shows riders swarming around the SUV before the driver takes off, running over biker Edwin Mieses Jr.

Mieses, of Lawrence, Mass., broke his legs and suffered spine injuries that will leave him paralyzed, his family has said. He had gotten off his motorcycle to defuse the tense situation when he was mowed over, the family said.

Bikers give chase up Manhattan's West Side Highway, caught up with the SUV, smashed the driver's side window and dragged Lien out, authorities say.

Braszczok did nothing to stop the assault, prosecutors said. He didn't call 911 and didn't report it to his superiors for two days, and then when he did he lied about it, Assistant District Attorney Samantha Turino said. At first Braszczok told investigators he didn't see the attack, then changed his story to say he saw it but didn't participate, she said.

The detective was stripped of his gun and badge after internal affairs detectives discovered he was present for at least part of the encounter. He initially told authorities and his union that he left without intervening in part because of his role as an undercover officer.

Uniformed officers, even off duty, are expected to jump in if a crime is occurring, but rules are murkier for undercover officers, who face blowing their covers if they come forward.

Investigators discovered video evidence showing Braszczok punching an already damaged back window, causing it to shatter, then twice kicking the passenger side of the SUV before leaving the scene, prosecutors said.

Several bikers also have been charged with attacking Lien or his SUV or instigating the melee.

Clint Caldwell was charged Wednesday with gang assault after prosecutors said he pulled the shattered glass from Lien's window and reached inside the SUV. His lawyer said there's no video showing him with his hands inside the SUV.

Police charged another biker, James Kuehne, with gang assault, weapon possession and other crimes. It was unclear if Kuehne had an attorney, and a message left at his Brooklyn home wasn't immediately returned.

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

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • SummerStage: you still have time to catch a show

    SummerStage: you still have time to catch a show

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:22 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:22:53 GMT
    You've got a few more weeks to enjoy SummerStage, New York's annual performing arts showcase that's 28 years running. But it's not just music: there is dance, comedy, theater, you name it. There are several shows weekly at 14 different parks throughout the five boroughs. A recent show at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park paid tribute to Pete Seeger. Most of the shows are free and are funded by tickets purchased for the some of the bigger acts.
    You've got a few more weeks to enjoy SummerStage, New York's annual performing arts showcase that's 28 years running. But it's not just music: there is dance, comedy, theater, you name it. There are several shows weekly at 14 different parks throughout the five boroughs. A recent show at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park paid tribute to Pete Seeger. Most of the shows are free and are funded by tickets purchased for the some of the bigger acts.
  • NY teacher tenure system faces new legal challenge

    NY teacher tenure system faces new legal challenge

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:14:16 GMT
    An educational advocacy group led by former CNN journalist Campbell Brown is challenging New York state's teacher tenure system, filing a lawsuit Monday that alleges that job protections unfairly shield bad teachers. Seven parents of public school children from New York City and Rochester are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in Supreme Court in Albany.
    An educational advocacy group led by former CNN journalist Campbell Brown is challenging New York state's teacher tenure system, filing a lawsuit Monday that alleges that job protections unfairly shield bad teachers. Seven parents of public school children from New York City and Rochester are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in Supreme Court in Albany.
  • 2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective wounded; fugitive killed in Manhattan

    2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective wounded; fugitive killed in Manhattan

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:10 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:10:52 GMT

    Two deputy U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were seriously wounded in a shootout with a fugitive sexual assault suspect in the West Village in Manhattan, officials said. The shootout happened in smoke shop called Smoking Culture on West 4th Street near Jones Street.

    Two deputy U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were seriously wounded in a shootout with a fugitive sexual assault suspect in the West Village in Manhattan, officials said. The shootout happened in smoke shop called Smoking Culture on West 4th Street near Jones Street.


Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices