An undercover police officer was present at the motorcycle gang rampage last Tuesday when an SUV driver was chased and beaten and he 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, and the detective had been stripped of his gun and badge. An internal affairs investigation is underway if he actually witnessed the assault on the SUV driver, who ran over two members of the gang as he feared for his life and the safety of his wife and toddler.
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.
Last weekend, several bikers stopped the Range Rover SUV on a highway, attacked the vehicle, then chased the driver and pulled him from the car after he plowed over a motorcyclist while trying to escape. Alexian Lien, an internet executive, needed stitches after being attacked by the bikers.
The motorcyclist who was hit by the SUV, Edwin Mieses Jr., of Lawrence, Mass., suffered a broken spine and two broken legs and may never walk again, his family said.
Investigators have been interviewing dozens of bikers and witnesses. On Saturday police said two other motorcyclists were taken into custody and they 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. A criminal complaint notes that a video shows Sims was among five to six motorcyclists who attacked Lien after he was dragged out of the car.
A fourth man, 37-year-old Reginald Chance of Brooklyn, was arrested by police Saturday and charged with gang assault, assault and criminal mischief. Chance, who sources say has a rap sheet with 21 prior arrests, is allegedly the violent man who used his chrome helmet to smash open Lien’s window.
Mieses’s family held a news conference Friday with their lawyer in which they said that he wasn’t doing anything wrong when he was struck by Lien’s SUV. They acknowledged that Mieses had stopped his bike in front of the family’s vehicle but said he was trying to get the other riders to leave the family alone when he was hit.
Sergio Consuegra, a bystander who intervened in the beating, said Sunday he “felt intense danger” as he protected Lien. He told reporters that he wishes he could have done more.
“I made a simple step that day, a simple gesture. … I must say today, to send a message to all that whenever they see a family in crisis, no matter the circumstances, when they cry for help, be there for them,” he said, at the scene of where the incident took place and accompanied by elected officials.
Consuegra said the riders started hitting the car, and that one of them tried to attack Lien’s wife, who was in the car along with their child.
“I saw a baby inside; she had the baby in her arms, I guess she was protecting the baby from all the glass that was flying inside and outside.”
He said bystanders started screaming for the woman and baby to be left alone and the biker let go.
Lien was on the ground when Consuegra stepped in between him and the bikers.
“There was more coming, and they feel like they wanted to keep hurting the man — and I felt intense danger at that moment, at that time, and I say to myself, ‘Let me not show these people that I’m here to engage in any kind of confrontation but that I’m here to protect the man and the family, so I’m going to keep it cool.’ That’s what I was thinking,” Consuegra said.