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New charges in biker, SUV clash
03:14 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Lawyer says Reginald Chance was a victim and didn't take part in the beating

One biker stomped on the SUV driver's head and body, police said

Source: An off-duty police officer was among motorcyclists who saw the incident

Police: The SUV driver plowed into three bikers while fleeing, critically injuring one

New York CNN  — 

About a half-dozen bikers accused of beating an SUV driver last weekend used their helmets to attack him and kicked his head and body as he lay on the ground, New York police said.

Police said one of the bikers – Robert Sims – also stomped on the driver’s head and body, according to a detective’s criminal complaint.

Sims was one of two bikers who turned himself in to authorities on Friday. He has been charged with attempted assault, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

According to police, Sims can be seen in a video going after the SUV.

The driver of the SUV suffered two black eyes and cuts on his face and side, requiring stitches, the criminal complaint said.

One of the bikers, Edwin Mieses, was critically injured in the melee. His wife said he is paralyzed.

Biker Reginald Chance, who police identify as the man seen in a video pounding his shiny helmet against the SUV, turned himself in Friday. He is also suspected of being involved in the beating of its driver Alexian Lien, police said.

Chance appeared for arraignment Sunday and was charged with first-degree assault and gang assault, both felonies; unlawful imprisonment; criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief, according to court papers. His bail was set at $75,000 cash or $100,000 if secured by property, and his next court appearance was set for October 11.

Chance’s lawyer, Gregory Watts, said his client didn’t take part in the beating. He said Chance and Mieses are also victims in the case, and he urged prosecutors to call a grand jury to investigate Lien.

“We concede the criminal mischief,” Watts said. “It’s obvious that he overreacted. But the law does permit someone who is a victim of an accident to at least attempt to get the identification of the motorist. My client obviously overreacted in that manner, but he is not this thug assaulting someone who’s harmless, contrary to the public opinion that’s being put out there.”

Source: Off-duty police officer among bikers who saw SUV driver beaten

A bump on a tire

Lien, with his wife and their 2-year-old daughter, was driving his Range Rover back from a wedding anniversary celebration.

The helmet video seized by police shows dozens of bikers swarming past him on Manhattan’s West Side Highway. One motorcycle quickly slowed down in front of Lien, who bumped its rear tire, slightly injuring rider Christopher Cruz.

Lien pulled to a stop, and angry bikers surrounded his vehicle, hitting it and spiking its tires, police said.

Lien stepped on the gas, plowing into three more bikers, including Edwin Mieses, whose wife says he is paralyzed.

On the video, which was shot from one of the riders’ helmet cameras, it’s around then, as the Range Rover stops further north on the road that runs all along the western side of Manhattan, that a man got off his motorcycle, police spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves said Friday.

A man, who police say was Sims, got off his motorcycle and opened Lien’s door, police spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves said Friday.

This helmeted man – who Nieves identified Friday as 35-year-old Robert Sims – then walks quickly over to the SUV and opens the driver’s door. Lien then drives off north, with his door slightly open, according to Nieves.

That’s where the video ended.

His wife and daughter were unharmed.

Cop among the bikers

An off-duty New York police officer was riding with the bikers Sunday and saw much of the confrontation that ended with five injured. But he didn’t step in, an official said.

He also didn’t tell his superiors about what happened until Wednesday, the source said. The officer, who works undercover, is a member of the motorcycle club.

He may not have been legally obligated to immediately intervene, according to the same source.

It’s not clear why he waited so long to report what he saw. He has hired a lawyer and is being investigated by the New York Police Department’s internal affairs unit.

Opinion: In attack, can bikers get a fair shake?

Several questioned, one arrested and charged

Police seized the helmet-cam video and questioned the motorcyclist who shot it.

Police previously arrested Christopher Cruz, the biker seen slowing in front of the Range Rover before being bumped.

Cruz is not guilty, according to his lawyer.

“His motorcycle was struck, and he stood right there,” his attorney H. Benjamin Perez said. “He never assaulted this man. He never tried to assault him in any way. And he does not know any of the other motorcyclists who were involved in this beating.”

A second biker was released Wednesday when authorities determined that he may have been trying to help.

The NYPD released photos Sunday of two other men they want to find and question as part of the investigation and asked for the public’s help in identifying them.

Mieses’ family says he is the real victim. “All of his ribs are fractured. His lungs are so badly bruised that he’s still on a ventilator,” Yolanda Santiago, his mother, told CNN affiliate WCBS.

Mieses’ wife, Dayana, told CNN affiliate WBZ that he got off his bike to help the SUV driver. She blamed Lien. “He got scared, he peeled off, and he paralyzed my husband on the way,” she said.

SUV driver acted ‘to protect the lives’ of his family

Lien was treated at a hospital for slashes to his face.

“My husband was forced under the circumstances to take the actions that he did in order to protect the lives of our entire family,” she said.

“We know in our hearts that we could not have done anything differently, and we believe that anyone faced with this sort of grave danger would have taken the same course of action in order to protect their family.”

It was Lien’s wife who made the last of three 911 calls the family placed during the incident, CNN has learned.

Bikers have called for Lien to be charged.

“That wasn’t fear, that was aggression – he ran over three bikes,” a man who identified himself as Jose told reporters Thursday night. “Are we saying, if you feel nervous you can kill somebody? You can paralyze somebody? I think we need to charge him immediately.”

Angry netizens have turned on the bikers, casting them in a bad light.

Another biker called for cool heads to prevail. “We are not here to blame anyone, we are not here to point any fingers,” Albert Elkerson said. “The true question is how could we have avoided what happened last Sunday, and what can we do to prevent that.”

“We are not here to blame anyone, we are not here to point any fingers,” Albert Elkerson said. “The true question is how could we have avoided what happened last Sunday, and what can we do to prevent that.”

CNN’s Susan Candiotti reported from New York; CNN’s Tom Watkins and Greg Botelho reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton, Lateef Mungin, Pamela Brown, Kevin Conlon and Marina Carver contributed to this report.