Manhattan DA Slams NYPD for Charging Biker in Uptown SUV Attack
MANHATTAN — The Manhattan DA's office blasted the NYPD for busting a Queens biker who was allegedly part of a group of motorcyclists that chased down an SUV and beat the driver in front of his family last weekend and said that they would not prosecute him for now.
The rebuke — which provided a rare glimpse into the occasional tensions between the law enforcement agencies — came in a strongly-worded statement that was released Wednesday.
"Prematurely charging individuals with low-level crimes does not further the goals of the investigation, and could weaken the cases we expect to bring against the perpetrators of serious crimes," Manhattan District Attorney's Trial Division Chief Karen Friedman-Agnifilo said.
Sources said that the DA's office told NYPD investigators to "slow down" and not press charges against Allen Edwards until a more complete investigation could be done, but police went ahead.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to an email for comment.
The rebuke came as detectives identified the motorcyclist who recorded a now famous 6-minute video of the SUV being swarmed by bikers on the West Side Highway and then pursuing until it was stopped on a Washington Heights street, where the driver was attacked.
The motorcyclist has been interviewed by investigators. Sources declined to provide his identity, saying he is is being treated as one of dozens of witnesses that now includes Edwards, 42, of Jamaica.
Edwards was initially arrested Tuesday for reckless endangerment and criminal mischief after turning himself in following a Henry Hudson Parkway chase, which spanned from 125th to 178th streets.
But sources said Wednesday that the DA's office would hold off on prosecuting him while the investigation continues in the attack on the Range Rover driven by Alexian Lien, 33, who was riding with his wife, Rosalyn Ng, and their 2-year-old daughter. The incident left Lien with two black eyes and stitches.
"After we investigate the facts of each person's individual actions, we will know what charges can be supported by the evidence," Friedman-Agnifillo said. "There is still a tremendous amout of investigation to be done."
Edwards was believed to be the man seen on dramatic video pounding the rear window of the SUV, but he was not charged with the assault.
Cops are still looking for a biker who smashed the window of the SUV with his helmet, pulled the driver from the car and beat him with the help of another still-at-large motorcyclist.
In the video, the bikers can be seen riding in a close group around the SUV on the parkway before one of the members of the group slows down dramatically in front of the Range Rover.
The SUV tapped the rear bumper of a motorcycle driven by Christopher Cruz, who was arrested afterwards.
After that, the SUV sped away, striking three bikers and sparking a chase up the highway that ended at West 178th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, police said.
There, one biker smashed open one of the SUV's windows, pulled Lien out and beat him, cops said. Edwards was believed to be the biker in the video who could be seen banging on the back window.
One of the bikers that the SUV hit, Edwin Mieses, broke two of his legs and may be paralyzed as a result, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday.
The bikers who assaulted Lien remained at large Wednesday morning, cops said.
Cruz was charged with unlawful imprisonment in the second degree and reckless driving, court papers show. His driver's license was suspended and he was forced to surrender his passport. He was released on $1,500 bail.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).