Undercover Cop Joined in Gang Attack on SUV

NEW YORK (AP) -
Craig Wright, right, stands in court with his attorney Tuesday after his arrest on charges of gang assault. (AP Photo/New York Post, Steven Hirsch)
Craig Wright, right, stands in court with his attorney Tuesday after his arrest on charges of gang assault. (AP Photo/New York Post, Steven Hirsch)

An off-duty, undercover police detective on a motorcycle was seen on video hitting and kicking an SUV when a biker rally spiraled into violence, two people familiar with the case said Tuesday.

Although his lawyer said Monday that the detective had only witnessed other bikers attacking the vehicle, investigators have video they believe show him punching an already damaged window, then twice kicking the side of the SUV before leaving the scene — an alleged outburst that could result in his arrest.

The disclosure added to the complexities of the Sept. 29 episode, which authorities say began with a reckless motorcycle group ride on a Manhattan highway. It ended with one motorcyclist run over and the SUV driver dragged from his car and beaten on a city street.

Four bikers have been criminally charged; the latest was arraigned Tuesday on gang assault and other charges.

New York Police Department internal affairs investigators have been looking into the undercover detective’s conduct because he didn’t report until three days later that he had been at the rally. The expectation that officers will act if they see a crime isn’t the same for undercover officers.

Asked about the undercover detective on Tuesday, Police Commissioner Raymond said he had been relegated to desk duty. A top union official said there were too many unanswered questions to comment.

“The facts are evolving and changing so quickly that the union will withhold any further comment until we see what the investigation reveals,” said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association.

The latest cyclist charged, Craig Wright, 29, punched driver Alexian Lien through the broken window and joined in stomping him on the street. A judge set Wright’s bail at $100,000.