Police Charge Another Two Motorcyclists With SUV Assault
NEW YORK CITY — Police have arrested two more motorcyclists suspected of bashing in the window of an SUV in upper Manhattan last weekend and pummeling its driver in front of his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
Reginald Chance, 37, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Sunday afternoon on charges that he used his helmet to smash the window of driver Alexian Lien's SUV and helped drag Lien out as his wife and daughter watched from inside.
Robert Sims, 35, was arraigned Saturday on charges that he chased Lien's black Range Rover north on the Henry Hudson Parkway and beat him after other members of the large group pulled Lien out of the car.
Chance, an Ocean Hill resident who gave both middle fingers to reporters in court, was hit with counts of gang assault, assault, criminal possesion of a weapon, criminal mischief and unlawful imprisonment and was held on $75,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.
"The defendant stopped his bike, dismounted and shattered the [SUV's] window," said assistant district attorney Samantha Turino.
"The defendant's actions also provided other motorists, the co-defendants, with access and set into motion" the beating of the victim, she said.
Turino admitted it was "not clear" whether Chance himself struck Lien but said "there is a basis for the charges" because Chance's actions set the attack in motion.
Chance had a suspended driver's license at the time of the Sept. 29 attack and has a lengthy criminal record, Turino added.
But Chance's attorney, Gregory Watts, said there was no evidence the married father of six committed the assault and that no witnesses identified Chance as part of the incident.
"My client had no involvement. None whatsoever," he said, adding that Lien's SUV struck Chance in addition to crushing biker Edward Mieses, who is still hospitalized, and an unidentified motorcyclist.
"He hits my client, knocking him down to the ground... A number of cyclists see this event and naturally took off," Watts said.
The second defendant, Sims, 35, tried to force open Lien's car door and joined other bikers in "stomping" on Lien, assistant district attorney Joshua Steinglass said. The chase was captured by a helmet camera attached to one of the motorcyclists.
"This assault, and the actions of this defendant are clearly seen on the videotape," he said.
A statement released by the court said Sims admitted to a detective that he saw himself in video footage of the harrowing attack, but did not say whether he committed any of the acts shown.
Sims — who was joined in court by 10 friends and family members, including his wife — remained silent throughout the hearing. His lawyer, Luther Williams, described him as a devoted husband and electrician who has served on the Electrical Union board for 14 years.
Williams said he and Sims were surprised by the arrest after they had cooperated with police requests that Sims act as a witness.
Sims — who surrendered after police issued a warrant for his arrest — was arrested so the NYPD could deflect criticism after several officers were found to be at the rally, Williams argued.
"They need a fall guy, they need someone to take the weight off [the off-duty NYPD bikers], and it looks like we have been chosen," he said.
Sims, who is being held on bail of $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond, is set to testify before a grand jury Wednesday, though he already made a written witness statement, Williams said.
Chance did not agree to appear before a grand jury, his lawyer said.
Biker Christopher Cruz, 28, was arrested last week for allegedly sparking the confrontation by stopping short in front of Lien's car, forcing him to bump his tire, police said.
Allen Edwards, 42, was also arrested but the Manhattan District Attorney declined to pursue a case against him, saying the charges were premature.
Lien's wife said in a statement released Thursday they "could not have done anything differently." Lien and his wife were celebrating their second wedding anniversary the day of the incident.