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11 motorcyclists indicted in assault

by JAMES C. McKINLEY JR. New York Times News Service on November 09, 2013 10:19 AM

NEW YORK — Eleven motorcyclists, including an undercover New York police detective, have been indicted in connection with the assault on a man who was driving a Range Rover with his wife and infant son on the Henry Hudson Parkway, the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced Friday.

All but one of the defendants were charged with gang assault. The 14-count indictment unsealed Thursday came after witnesses testified before a grand jury.

The assault, which took place Sept. 29, was videotaped and viewed widely on the Internet. The top charge against 10 of the men is first-degree gang assault; nine of those defendants are also charged with first- and second-degree assault. All are charged with coercion and riot as well.

The police detective, Wojciech Braszczok, 32, would face up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted on the top counts. He is free on $150,000 bail and has been suspended without pay. He has pleaded not guilty, as all the other defendants did.

Prosecutors said the defendants took part in an attack on the driver, Alexian Lien, 33. The conflict started on the parkway, on the west side of Manhattan, when dozens of motorcyclists on a “Hollywood Block Party” tour, organized on the Internet, surrounded Lien’s car at 1:55 p.m. and slowed down. Lien bumped the rear tire of one motorcycle, driven by Christopher Cruz, and the entire pack of motorcycles came to a stop.

According to statements the bikers made to the police that were released with the indictment, Cruz approached the car, had words with Lien through a closed window, then slammed his fist into the driver’s side mirror. Panicked, Lien sped off, running over another biker and leaving him seriously injured.

Cruz stayed with the injured man, but the dozens of others followed the Range Rover — which had a flat tire — and caught up to Lien a few minutes later as he stopped for a light.

Some of them broke the SUV’s windows with helmets, dragged Lien into the street and pummeled him with fists and boots, according to the indictment.

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