Charges Increased on Undercover Cop Involved in SUV Attack
MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — Prosecutors increased charges against an undercover detective with the Intelligence Division they said took part in a motorcycle gang assault on a Manhattan father in an SUV.
Wojciech Braszczok, 32, who was off-duty at the time, was accused of punching the rear window and kicking the passenger side door, also of joining in with a horde of motorcyclists that chased the driver, Alexian Lien, and his family on the Henry Hudson Parkway on Sept. 29, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
Braszczok didn’t inform his superiors that he was present during the attack for two days, Assistant District Attorney Erin Choi said during his arraignment Wednesday afternoon on charges of gang assault, assault and criminal mischief.
When he finally told them he was there he lied about chasing the Range Rover up the highway and maintained part in the attack, Choi said.
Video taken at the scene shows Braszczok wearing a black jacket with the logo "Frontline Soldier, New Rochelle, NY" written on the back, the ADA told the judge. Prosecutors claim that Braszczok punched a hole in the back window of the SUV.
"The video will exonerate our client," his lawyer John Arlia countered. "The video depicts, and I defy the prosecution to say otherwise, that our client is nowhere near Mr. Lien."
The lawyer claimed that the back window was already broken.
"There was already a softball-size hole in the glass," Arlia said. "There's no evidence that he broke it."
Lien, who was driving with his wife and baby daughter at the time of the attack, suffered cuts above both eyes, on his cheeks and scrapes to his hands, back and shoulders.
Braszczok, who has been suspended from the force, is expected to be released on $150,000 bond.
Arlia asked that the press not be allowed to photograph the hearing for fear of jeopardizing undercover cases that involved his client.
"This detective valliantly served, but secretly, as an undercover officer with the Intelligence Division of the New York City Police Department, infiltrating groups that were targeted by law enforcement agencies," Arlia said.
A fifth motorcyclist, Clint Caldwell, 32, was also arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday afternoon on charges of assault and gang assault.
The prosecutors Caldwell chased Lien with the other bikers and reached into the SUV to touch the driver during the attack.
He is also being held on $150,000 bond.
Both men are due back in court on Oct. 11.
James Kuehne, 31, of Gravesend, was arrested Wednesday night and charged with gang assault, criminal possession of a weapon, assault and criminal mischief, police said.