What started out as a just another example of human-on-human brutality has now gotten even uglier. Alexian Lien, a NYC resident who was out driving with his wife and child, found himself surrounded by a large group of bikers who had pretty much taken over the West Side Highway.
In a video captured by one of the bikers, you can see Lien tap a rider with his SUV when one cuts him off by swerving into his lane suddenly. The next scene would be frightening enough, even without what follows. Lien is surrounded by angry bikers, enough that his SUV disappears from view. As bikers begin to dismount to confront him, Lien takes off, using his vehicle as a battering ram to clear a path through the angry crowd. One biker, Edwin Mieses, is run over. A long pursuit follows, culminating in an attack on Lien on a side street.
Although the video doesn't show it, other video, photographs and eyewitness accounts indicate the group of bikers smashed Lien's windows, banged on the vehicle, slashed tires and beat Lien himself while his wife and child looked on.
Everything about the situation is regrettable and horrific, from Lien's panicked hit-and-run to the street justice meted out by a handful of vengeful bikers.
But it gets worse.
As the investigation commenced and arrests were made, an undercover officer of the NYPD came forward to state that he had been present during this incident
An off-duty undercover NYPD cop was among the pack of bikers who chased a family up the West Side Highway — and he stood by as the dad was hauled from his car and beaten, sources told The Post.
The unidentified officer waited three days to come forward Wednesday night. He has been placed on modified duty and turned in his gun and badge on Friday, the sources said.
In a reversal of the recent situation where the public stood by
as a Philly transit cop was assaulted by one
person, this undercover cop stood by while a citizen was beaten by several
. Why didn't this cop spring into action -- or at least call 911?
“It does not appear that he got involved at the scene,” one law-enforcement source said of the undercover, who has hired a lawyer. “He didn’t want to blow his cover...”
This might have meant something if the cop was investigating his fellow riders. But he wasn't. In fact, he was off-duty at the time, investigating nothing at all. But still, he failed to do anything to prevent the attack or even report the attack, despite all of his inside connections.
It's bad. It gets worse. There was another undercover cop present as well
The off-duty officer was one of two detectives riding Sunday with the two-wheeled thugs who yanked Alexian Lien from his Range Rover and inflicted a beatdown near W. 178th St. in front of the driver’s family, a source told the Daily News.
The downward spiral continues
According to New York Police Department sources, whether either of the two new officers to step forward witnessed Sunday's incidents remains unclear, Miller reported Saturday afternoon. All three officers who have said that they took part in the motorcycle ride were off-duty.
Now we have three officers, none of whom made even the slightest move to protect Lien, head off the crowd or call for assistance. The excuse that calling the NYPD would have "blown their cover" simply doesn't fly. This happened in broad daylight on heavily-traveled roads. The arrival of police would have seemed inevitable, rather than the act of a rat within their midst.
Unbelievably, we still haven't plumbed the depths that a member of NYC's Finest would explore in order to preserve his cover or uphold the First Rule of Policing
or whatever will be used in court to justify this officer's actions
An off-duty undercover cop who claimed he took no active role as fellow bikers pulled a Manhattan dad from his SUV and beat him to a pulp actually furiously slapped the car’s back window so hard that it shattered at the height of the bloody road-rage attack, sources told The Post.
The cop, a seven-year veteran, had told investigators he didn’t help the injured man because he rode up to the scene as the beating was nearly over, sources said.
Wojciech Braszczok, 32, was publicly identified by his bosses — to whom he allegedly lied when he claimed he had nothing to do with the heinous Sept. 29 attack. Video evidence showed he shattered the window with his gloved hand.
Braszczok surrendered with his lawyer at Central Booking and was charged with rioting and criminal mischief — and he could face up to seven years in prison, sources said.
On the plus side, even the Thin Blue Line doesn't want much to do with Braszczok:
The cop also said he feared for his life if he blew his cover in any way — but law-enforcement sources scoffed at the claim. He works undercover narcotics, but is on assignment with the NYPD’s Intelligence Division and wasn’t on the clock at the time.
“He totally lied when he said he did nothing because he didn’t want to blow his cover,’’ a law-enforcement source seethed.
Looking at this whole fiasco, is it any wonder that people aren't in a hurry to rush to the aid of law enforcement? With the roles reversed, the reaction is exactly the same -- and in Brasczok's case, actively worse. The police don't have any legal duty to assist people in harm's way. Their purpose is much more specialized. As human beings, their duty to their fellow man extends only as far as anyone else's. This isn't meant to excuse the lack of action on the part of the undercover officers (and there's no excusing
Braszczok), but rather to point out how ridiculous it is for law enforcement to expect the public to make more of an effort than trained cops, with backup on tap, would in the same situation.
There are heroes and villains in any police force and in any public setting. But when those the public assumes will fill the protective role do nothing, or worse, become a part of the mob, it colors the entire force as untrustworthy and dangerous.