Motorcylces surround Alexian Lien's Range Rover on Manhattan's West Side Highway.
The undercover NYPD cop who stood by as a pack of motorcyclists surrounded and attacked the driver of an SUV in Manhattan last week is an officer with about 10 years on the job – virtually all of it undercover, sources say.
As is sometimes the case in undercover operations , the officer was unarmed when the bikers he was riding with attacked driver Alexian Lien on Sept. 29. And as is almost always the case, he was not carrying a badge.
Two sources say the officer is assigned to the NYPD’s Intelligence Division. But they did not provide details on his assignment, or whether his actions, or lack of them, were meant to preserve his cover.
All files related to his career have been locked down by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, and his assignment, whatever it was, is now over. While the officer did not take part in the assault, for which three other bikers have so far been charged, he is under investigation for waiting several days before disclosing that he was present.
Michael Palladino, president of the NYPD detectives' union, the Detectives' Endowment Association, said the undercover officer had to make a difficult decision.
"Compromising his identity could compromise all the work he's doing and his safety as well," said Palladino. "It's very difficult to lead a double life."
As many as five other off-duty police officers may have been riding with the hundreds of motorcyclists who flooded Manhattan on Sept. 29 as part of an annual biker event called Hollywood Stuntz. An additional officer is set to come forward today and announce that he was on the Henry Hudson Parkway with the pack of bikers who surrounded Lien’s Range Rover, though he was not near enough to witness the assault.
Police have so far charged three men in connection with the assault on Lien, who was pulled from his vehicle and beaten in front of his wife and daughter in an incident captured on videotape, and have fourth in custody awaiting charges. They are asking for the public’s help in finding more and are circulating photos. They are concentrating on the five or six individuals allegedly directly involved in the beating.
Police say they have identified a fifth suspect in Suffolk County, N.Y., but have not yet arrested him. They said they believe he is on the run.
On Monday, police A 29-year-old Brooklyn man into custody. Police say he can be seen on video punching and kicking Lien.
Biker Reginald Chance, 37, who was arraigned Sunday, is charged with gang assault, assault and three other counts for allegedly using his helmet to smash the front window of Lien’s Range Rover before Lien was pulled from the vehicle and assaulted.
Christopher Cruz, 23, has been charged with reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment for slowing down in front of Lien’s car. Robert Sims, 35, allegedly stomped on Lien after the driver was pulled from this SUV. He has been charged with gang assault, assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon.
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First published October 7 2013, 11:20 AM