Last week, a group of motorcyclists “boxed in” a Range Rover on the freeway, apparently so they could “shut down” the road as part of a larger celebration. Alexian Lien, the Rover’s driver, struck a motorcyclist who brake-checked him; afterwards, he was chased into the city, dragged from his vehicle, and beaten savagely in front of his wife and two-year-old daughter. The District Attorney for NYC has elected not to prosecute the biker who allegedly smashed Lien’s window and dragged him out of the car for the beating, causing outrage around the country.
Now, new information has come out suggesting that the city may be willing to effectively cede control of its streets to those same bikers.
The Post is reporting that NYPD officers have been told not to pursue biker gangs due to community-safety concerns. “The department also doesn’t have the manpower to police the rogue riders, who get together for pop-up outings and often use unregistered bikes.” This will not be reassuring to New Yorkers who have just watched one of their own take a beating from these bikers — particularly since Mr. Lien, with his Range Rover, his Columbia University education, and his job working for Credit Suisse, appears on the surface at least to be one of the “insulated” Manhattanites who have largely been sheltered from the city’s criminals since the beginning of the Giuliani administration.
While there are certainly sound reasons for a “no-pursuit” policy, and they have been discussed on TTAC in the past, offering a blanket policy exemption to motorcyclists engaged in intimidating or criminal behavior is likely to embolden people who, at least in a few cases, feel that it is completely justified to brutally assault a man in front of his two-year-old daughter. Slate, on the other hand, has taken this opportunity to shift some blame to the victim and argue that this was not a biker gang but rather a bunch of fun-loving stunt riders who should be handled lightly. Regardless of that rather nice distinction, the public is already demanding some effective action from the NYPD — and deciding to let bikers go as a matter of policy is unlikely to impress them.