Some New York City police are fuming after one of the motorcyclists caught on video chasing down an SUV in Manhattan — and allegedly punching a window near an infant strapped in a car seat and watching the father-SUV driver being beaten — won't be charged by the city's district attorney, according to the New York Post.
The biker in question is Allen Edwards, a 43-year-old Queens resident who was among a gang of motorcyclists involved in an accident Sunday with Alexian Lien that soon escalated into road rage that left one of the bikers paralyzed and in a coma.
Edwards surrendered to cops Tuesday but was released without arrest, sources told the Post.
One law enforcement source tells the Post that the DA not pressing charges against Edwards has enraged some on the NYPD.
“He’s there on the motorcycle right next to [Lien] after [Lien] got his a** kicked,” the source tells the Post, referencing the images of Edwards' alleged attack.
Besides showing Edwards allegedly punching the window, video also shows him allegedly standing next to Lien after he was thrown to the ground and beaten, the Post notes.
Lien, his wife, and two-year-old daughter were celebrating the couple's one-year wedding anniversary at the time of the incident, Fox News reports. The helmet-cam video embed of the entire incident has been disabled, but it can be viewed on YouTube.
As TheBlaze previously reported, Lien reportedly collided with one of the bikers on a New York City highway. The other bikers, apparently furious about the collision, went after Lien's SUV and reportedly started to slash its tires. Lien, who had his wife and young child in the car, “barreled through three of the bikers to get away,” CBS Boston reports.
However, the bikers continued to pursue Lien and eventually caught up to him, smashed his window, pulled him from the car and beat him in front of his wife and child. Video of the incident has gone viral and has sparked a contentious debate over whether the dad was wrong or just trying to protect his family.
More from the Post:
Police, meanwhile, are zeroing in on two other suspects, including the one who slashed Lien, sending him to the hospital for stitches.
“They’re trying to ID two of the guys. One of them is the main guy. He’s the one that assaulted the victim. On the video, he was wearing the chrome helmet that has a logo of a bird,” a third source said late Tuesday.
A witness told police the biker in the chrome helmet pulled Lien out of the car, threw the terrified dad to the ground and stomped on his head.
The second suspect being sought also smashed windows on the SUV, the source added.
“He’s wearing orange and he hit the window of the SUV,” the source said.
One of the bikers collared in the incident is Christopher Cruz, 28, of Passaic, N.J., who yelled “F—!” upon leaving Manhattan Criminal Court on $1,500 cash bail after being charged with reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment, the Post says.
Christopher Cruz appears in criminal court in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. Cruz, 28, of New Jersey, was charged Wednesday with reckless driving after prosecutors said he touched off a tense encounter with the driver of a sport utility vehicle and a throng of other bikers. He was also charged with unlawful imprisonment. His bail was set at $1,500 cash. (Credit: AP)
Cruz was caught on video allegedly igniting the entire incident when he slowed down in front of Lien's SUV and "brake checked" it, supposedly so the large group of his fellow rallying bikers could take over the highway.
Despite no evidence he committed an assault, sources tell the Post that NYPD officials wanted to arrest Cruz due to the case's widespread publicity.
“We arrested [Cruz] because of pressure from [police brass] to make an arrest in this case,” a second source said. “It was completely against [the prosecutor's] judgment. The case is weak. We needed much more investigation.”
A statement from the DA’s top trial prosecutor, Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, confirmed that the office was proceeding with caution in building “the strongest cases possible” against the renegade bikers.
“Prematurely charging individuals with low-level crimes does not further the goals of the investigation, and could weaken the cases we expect to bring against the perpetrators of serious crimes,” Friedman-Agnifilo said in a written statement.
While police have photos of hundreds of license plates from bridge and tunnel cameras of motorcycles whose riders swarmed Lien, his wife, and child, the Post adds that some of the plates are stolen or belong to different bikes, making it tougher to ID the motorcyclists.
Early on in the chase, as Lien peeled away to escape the motorcycle gang surrounding his vehicle, he ran over 26-year-old biker Jeremiah Mieses of Lawrence, Mass., whose spine was crushed. He remains hospitalized in a medically induced coma. (Other news outlets report the man's first name is Edward; his family started a Facebook page, "Justice for Jay Meezee," to share their side of the story and raise money for medical expenses.)
Here's a report from WPIX-TV:
(H/T: New York Post)