New York City newspapers are reporting that there were at least two and as many as five off-duty NYPD police officers among the motorcyclists riding with the pack that chased and beat Range Rover driver Alexian Lien after he rear-ended a sportbike rider who appears, in the videos of the incident, to have brake checked the SUV.
Lien drove away, hitting other motorcyclists, prompting the chase. The Daily News and the New York Post reported that an undercover officer participating in the ride observed the altercation but did not intervene and stop the beating for fear of losing his cover. He also did not call 911 to report the beating. ABC News reported that the detective works in narcotics enforcement. The newspapers’ sources say that the detective belongs to a motorcycle club called Front Line Soldiers whose membership includes other NYPD cops and that he was on the ride in a private capacity, not conducting an investigation at the time. While he did tell the NYPD that he was present, he only came forward after videos of the event started circulating, contacting superiors on Wednesday following the Sunday incident. News reports say that that the undercover detective has retained an attorney, though they don’t indicate if the lawyer was privately retained or hired by the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, the labor union representing NYPD officers. He is reportedly the subject of an internal affairs investigation.
The New York Post reported about the detective’s affiliation with the Front Line Soldiers M/C and the Daily News said that according to its sources in addition to the undercover narcotics officer and another off-duty cop, there were possibly two or three more police officers among the estimated 20 to 30 motorcyclists on the Henry Hudson Parkway when riders tried to slow traffic, apparently so they could perform stunts.
Lien’s SUV bumped one rider who slowed suddenly in front of Lien’s car and when Lien accelerated to escape the pack of riders he hit several, seriously injuring Edwin “Jay” Mieses, who has since retained celebrity lawyer Gloria Aldred. Several of the bikers chased the Liens’ car for four miles, eventually catching up to him in Washington Heights when Lien got caught in Manhattan traffic. The motorcyclists smashed the Range Rover’s windows, pulled Lien from the car and beat him severely as his wife and child watched.
The undercover NYPD detective and the possible presence of other NYPD officers on the ride and their failure to report or stop the beating are being investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs bureau. In addition to the failure to intervene or even report the incident, there is the additional matter of the officers participating in a mass ride that involved numerous traffic violations including stunting on public roads. After a similar ride a year ago snarled traffic, the NYPD had made efforts this year to prevent a mass gathering of motorcyclists in Times Square, said by some to be one reason why the pack of riders were on the Henry Hudson Pkwy at the time of the altercation.