Riot On Wheels Wasn’t Exactly Copless (Udate)

The video went viral as it should, given how awful the images were.  A swarm of motorcyclists driving crazy, having a grand time and then, inexplicably, one motorcyclist stopping a Range Rover on the highway. It didn’t end well for the motorcyclist, or the driver.

The motorcyclist who insanely decided to take on the SUV ended up with two broken legs, perhaps paralyzed for life, when the Range Rover tried to get away.  From the motorcyclists’ perspective, the driver of the SUV only needed to do as he was being forced to do and he would have been fine.  While that safe outcome was by no means assured, and appears contradicted by absolutely everything else happening around them, motorcyclists do not get to control other people so they can engage in fun, crazy, lawlessness.

The motorcyclist’s family then did the stupidest thing possible: they got Gloria Allred for a lawyer.

Meanwhile, the only biker injured during the rampage threatened he may sue Lien for running him over with the Range Rover when he hit the gas as his SUV was first surrounded.

“He was attempting to diffuse the situation,” lawyer Gloria Allred said of Edwin Mieses, 32, whom she said may be paralyzed from the waist down “for the rest of his life.”

Mieses hasn’t had a valid license in his home state of Massachusetts since 1999, and has never applied for a motorcycle license.

Don’t blame Gloria. There were reporters, and she suffers from a disease that prevents her from being quiet and not disgracing herself when there are reporters around. Sadly, her disease is terminal.

The question that ran through the minds of so many is how it is possible that a gang of bikers, a huge number of them, can seize control of the a major artery without the police doing anything.  If you watch the entire video, a remarkable aside is that no police officer, police cruiser, Sherman Tank, anything, appears in view.  So where were the police?

This is where your eyes deceive you. There may well have been a police officer right in front of your eyes, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. For one thing, he was undercover. For another, he was part of the disease instead of the cure.

An off-duty undercover NYPD cop was among the pack of bikers who chased a family up the West Side Highway — and he stood by as the dad was hauled from his car and beaten, sources told The Post.

The unidentified officer waited three days to come forward Wednesday night.

And then there were the off-duty cops, according to the Daily News.

The off-duty officer was one of two detectives riding Sunday with the  two-wheeled thugs who yanked Alexian  Lien from his Range Rover and inflicted a beatdown near W. 178th St. in  front of the driver’s family, a source told the Daily News.

Mind you, the undercover officer wasn’t working the riot, but rather claims to have taken to the streets to “pick up some tips about criminal activity.”  Such as how to watch a few motorcyclists seize control of a highway and beat a man, pondering such deep questions as whether the beatdown was different than when inflicted by the police.

All of this demands an answer to a very simple question: why did they do nothing to help Alexian Lien?  The UC has lawyered up, and no explanation is likely to be forthcoming, but that doesn’t really mean much as any excuse offered isn’t likely to tell the true story.  But he did tell his police buddies a little something:

The detective told colleagues he didn’t want to end up like Detective Gescard  Isnora, an undercover cop involved in the Sean Bell shooting, the source said.  Isnora stepped out of his undercover role and fired the first shot as four  officers blasted the Queens man with a 50-shot fusillade in 2006. Isnora was fired and lost his pension and health benefits for shooting his weapon while undercover.

When the going gets tough, cops worry about their pension. Accurate as this excuse may be, his claim that he was afraid of breaking out of his undercover role and revealing his identity as a cop falls remarkably flat.  He wasn’t there undercover to infiltrate this group, as Isnora was working undercover at the time he joined in the killing of Sean Bell. There wasn’t a group of cops to handle the situation so that his aid was unnecessary, as was the case with Bell.

More likely was the invocation of the First Rule of Policing, that he feared that had he stopped to help Lien, to save him from the savage attack, he might have made himself a target and been hurt.  Should he risk harm to himself to save someone?

It always comes as a shock to people to learn that the police (and ambulance and firefighters, for that matter) have no legal duty to assist a person in need, unless there are special circumstances that create a specific duty.  Getting beaten in front of a cop’s eyes doesn’t count. To be blunt, if a cop helps, it’s out of the kindness of his heart. He can lawfully turn his back and walk away.

But legal duty has nothing to do with any duty one has as a human being, a moral duty, to not let someone be beaten in front of you, have the capacity to do something and yet, walk away.  The UC, the off-duty cops, had guns and shields. They are required to carry their guns, and though it’s unmentioned in the stories, it can be assumed that they were doing as regularity dictates.  Pull out a shield and a gun, and even crazed motorcyclists are inclined to pay attention.

Protect and serve is such a cool slogan.  You thought it meant to protect and serve you?

Update:  As it turns out, undercover officer Wojciech Braszczok, 32, wasn’t merely present, or in the crowd of bikers, but was one of the bikers who actively smashed the Range Rover’s window.  His attempt to lie his way out of his failure to act was dismissed:

The cop also said he feared for his life if he blew his cover in any way — but law-enforcement sources scoffed at the claim. He works undercover narcotics, but is on assignment with the NYPD’s Intelligence Division and wasn’t on the clock at the time.

“He totally lied when he said he did nothing because he didn’t want to blow his cover,’’ a law-enforcement source seethed.


9 comments on “Riot On Wheels Wasn’t Exactly Copless (Udate)

  1. George B

    It will be enlightening to see if the UC officer, surely equipped with a cell phone & BlueTooth headset [Rule One], immediately called NYPD to get uniformed officers on the scene ASAP…. or did he instead sit there silently? And the other cops????

    1. SHG Post author

      According to the story, he didn’t tell anyone he was with the gang until the following Wednesday. So, no. Nothing.

  2. Dan

    How dare you criticize cops. They put their lives on the line every day to protect the rest of us. Without cops, you could be living in complete savage lawlessness, surrounded by ruthless thugs, ready to pull you out of your car and beat you down while your wife and child look on helplessly.

    1. George B

      Since when does SWAT arrive on crotch rockets?
      [The all-black outfits errr uniforms with facemasks do fit, however….]

  3. Bruce Coulson

    Like some method actors, some undercover police get ‘lost in the role’ and forget that their ‘home boys’ that they’re hanging with aren’t really their friends, and that they aren’t supposed to sign off on everything their cool new crew does. Which gets awkward when suddenly you’re a national celebrity.

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