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New York undercover cop indicted in SUV-motorcycle clash

November 09, 2013|By Soumya Karlamangla
  • Wojciech Braszczok, seen in a sketch from criminal court in New York, is an undercover police detective who was indicted on charges stemming from a violent clash between motorcyclists and the driver of an SUV.
Wojciech Braszczok, seen in a sketch from criminal court in New York, is… (Elizabeth Wiliams / Associated…)

A grand jury in New York has indicted an undercover detective who took part in a violent clash between motorcyclists and an SUV driver, an incident which gained nationwide attention after video of the altercation swept across the Internet.

Wojciech Braszczok was indicted on nine different charges, including first-degree gang assault, first- and second-degree assault, riot and coercion, according to court records.

Braszczok, 32, would face up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted.

In all, 11 people were indicted on charges that stem from a Sept. 29 incident, when a New York event known as the Hollywood Block Party turned ugly.

Video footage from a helmet camera, which was posted on the Internet and went viral, shows a Range Rover driving on Manhattan’s West Side Highway, surrounded by several motorcyclists. Then, a biker slows down in front of the SUV, and the vehicles bump. The SUV stops, and several bikers stop as well.

The video then shows the SUV, driven by Alexian Lien, 33, running over at least one biker, and driving up the highway chased by a group of bikers. Also inside the car were Lien's wife and their infant child. 

Lien drove dozens of blocks and ended up on 178th Street in Washington Heights, where he was surrounded by motorcyclists. Motorcyclists in the group attacked the vehicle and, according to police, pulled Lien from the SUV and beat him. 

Lien's injuries included two black eyes, multiple cuts to his face and injuries to his hands, back and right shoulder, according to the criminal complaint.

Braszczok, prosecutors say, was one of those attacking the SUV. He allegedly struck the rear window and kicked its passenger side, but was not involved in the direct attack of Lien, according to a criminal complaint. 

Braszczok has said that he was off duty but undercover, and that coming to the family’s aid would have blown his cover.

All the defendants, including the detective, have pleaded not guilty. Braszczok is free on $150,000 bail. He is set to next appear in court Nov. 20.

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Twitter: @skarlamangla

soumya.karlamangla@latimes.com

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