Updated Friday, October 11, 4:43 p.m.
An undercover Queens detective who was off duty during an assault on an SUV driver in Upper Manhattan last month appeared in court again Friday in connection to the incident.
Wojciech Braszczok, 32, 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 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.
Two bikers were indicted on Friday, according to published reports. Braszczok will testify before a grand jury in February.
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 on Tuesday 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 of the September 29 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 reportedly claimed he didn’t want to help the driver because he was afraid of blowing his cover.
After appearing in court Wednesday, Braszczok was released after posting $150,000 bond.
According to the New York Daily News, his attorney said he had to put up his $400,000 Long Island City apartment. Braszczok’s lawyer also reportedly said that the video evidence that led to his client’s arrest will exonerate him.
Six other bikers have been charged in connection to the incident. Police are still seeking several others for questioning.
Another motorcyclist, a Queens man, was arrested earlier this month, but the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it declined to prosecute the biker at this time “pending further investigation of the entire incident.”
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