NEW YORK — Authorities are investigating whether an undercover police officer present at a motorcycle rally witnessed a violent confrontation between an SUV driver and a swarm of bikers and didn’t immediately report it, a law enforcement official said Saturday.
The officer came forward several days after the Sept. 29 rally to say he was present, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The officer has an attorney, and internal affairs detectives are trying to determine whether he witnessed the assault on the SUV driver, the official said.
New York Police Department spokesman John McCarthy said a detective had been stripped of his gun and badge pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.
McCarthy said internal affairs was investigating the case and looking into whether any off-duty officers may have been present.
Undercover officers are required to immediately report being a witness to a crime. Uniformed officers are required to take police action if they see a crime occurring, but the rules are murkier for undercover officers who face blowing their cover, confusing civilians who don’t realize the undercover is really a cop and ruining yearslong investigations.
On Saturday, police said two other motorcyclists were taken into custody and released a photograph of another man they say they want to question in connection with the attack.
Robert Sims, 35, of Brooklyn, was arraigned Saturday in Manhattan on charges of first-degree gang assault, first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Bail was set at $100,000.