An undercover Queens detective and 10 other bikers were indicted by a grand jury Friday on charges in connection to an assault on an SUV driver in Upper Manhattan, according to published reports.
Wojciech Braszczok was charged with gang assault, criminal mischief, riot and other charges, according to the indictment, the AP said.
Braszczok, 32, pleaded not guilty along with the other defendants, and could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the top charges, said the New York Times.
He is free on $150,000 bail and is due back in court for a November 20 arraignment, according to court records. Braszczok, according to published reports, had originally been scheduled to testify in front of a grand jury in February of next year.
Braszczok, who, according to the New York Daily News, is a married father of two from Long Island City, was initially arrested and charged with criminal mischief and riot. Even though he didn’t participate in the September 29 assault, because he was aided by individuals who did take part, his charges were modified to gang assault, assault and criminal mischief, according to the criminal complaint.
Braszczok didn’t initially come forward to say that he was present during the incident until several days after it happened, and lied about witnessing the incident and his role, according to reports.
He reportedly turned himself in after he was identified in a video where he can be allegedly seen striking the SUV’s driver’s side window with his helmet multiple times and kicking the passenger side of the vehicle.
The SUV and the group of motorcyclists were both on the Henry Hudson Parkway when one of the bikers and the vehicle bumped, setting off the altercation, according to reports.
In a YouTube video, the SUV can be seen slowing down and then, according to reports, running over biker Edwin Mieses Jr., leaving him paralyzed. The driver, who had his wife and toddler in the car at the time, reportedly has claimed he felt threatened by the surrounding motorcyclists and that’s why he accelerated.
After the SUV hit Mieses, said police, several of the motorcyclists chased the car slashed its tires and did other damage to the vehicle. When the driver stopped near West 178 Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, some of the bikers pulled the man from his Range Rover and assaulted him.
Braszczok is a 10-year veteran of the NYPD who has spent five years undercover, including work during Occupy Wall Street, reported the AP.
Uniformed officers, according to the AP, are required to intervene if they see a crime occurring, but the rules are less clear for undercover officers. If they witness a crime, they are required to immediately report it.
Braszczok, who was off-duty at the time of the incident, reportedly claimed he didn’t want to help the driver because he was afraid of blowing his cover.