An undercover detective attending at a motorcycle rally that devolved into broken bones and blood did not witness a biker get struck by an SUV or see the SUV driver subsequently attacked by bikers, a lawyer said Monday.
The detective joined the pack of riders following the black Range Rover up Manhattan's West Side Highway after it struck motorcyclist Edwin Mieses, Jr. because he thought there had been a hit-and-run, said attorney Phil Karasyk with the Detectives' Endowment Association.
He later saw the bikers attacking the SUV but didn't see the motorist pulled from the vehicle and beaten, Karasyk said.
Video captured parts of the encounter, including the moment when about two dozen riders slowed down, swarming the SUV after the driver and a biker bumped. Some dismounted and approached the vehicle, and police said some bikers began damaging the Range Rover.
The driver, Alexian Lien, in the car with his wife and 2-year-old child, took off, striking Mieses before heading north. His wife said they had no other choice but to flee.
Mieses suffered two broken legs and spinal injuries that may leave him paralyzed.
The bikers pursued the driver until the SUV got off the highway and got stuck in street traffic. The video showed one biker smashing the driver's window with his helmet. Police said the group then pulled Lien from the SUV and beat him, although that part isn't shown on the video. He required stitches.
Three bikers have been charged so far, and police continue to investigate. Lien has not been charged.
The detective was off-duty when he joined the Sept. 29 rally, Karasyk said. While off-duty officers are expected to act if they see a crime, undercover officers do so only in rare circumstances.
Karasyk said the detective, who had no gun or badge with him, was conscious of cases where officers blew cover only to be suspended or dismissed for doing so.
"He had no other option, so he drove away," he said.
The detective did not report his presence there until three days later. Chief police spokesman John McCarthy said the officer was stripped of his gun and badge while internal affairs investigates the delay.