It’s a dramatic case built on amateur video that went viral — footage of motorcycles swarming around an SUV on a highway, the driver plowing over a biker to escape and a high-speed chase that ends with the driver pulled out and beaten in front of his family.
But as compelling as the footage is, it doesn’t answer a key question: What happened before the cameras were turned on?
Nearly two weeks later, some bikers are suggesting SUV driver Alexian Lien, knowingly or not, instigated the confrontation off camera earlier by clipping one of the bikes in a rally on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan.
Authorities are looking into everything that unfolded along the ride’s path from lower to upper Manhattan, including the possibility a motorcyclist hit the SUV, not the other way around, and broke its side mirror before the encounters on the video. Police are looking for other helmet-camera videos of the ride, which spurred 911 calls about the bikers’ behavior before the SUV driver’s beating.
Attorney Gloria Allred, representing Edwin Mieses Jr., the biker who was crushed, claims Lien bumped another motorcycle while changing lanes on the highway two to three miles before his SUV knocked into biker Christopher Cruz.
“We have evidence that he hit that [first] bike and didn’t stop,” Allred said by phone.
Mieses, of Lawrence, Mass., didn’t see any earlier encounter but got off his motorcycle to defuse the tense situation and was headed back when he was hit from behind by the SUV, she said. His legs were broken, and he suffered a spine injury and is likely paralyzed, his family has said.
Castaldo said that when bikers tried to approach the SUV, Lien “decides to run over three or four people. … He should have just apologized.”
Authorities have used the video footage to bring charges against seven motorcyclists, including an off-duty undercover police detective. The Manhattan district attorney’s office said the detective, Wojciech Braszczok, lied when he said he didn’t witness the assault. Video has surfaced showing him punching out the back window.