Wojciech Braszczok gets two years after being convicted on five counts in June
Couple gives harrowing account of chase, beating on New York roads
The ex-undercover officer arrested after a 2013 melee among bikers and the driver of an SUV in New York has been sentenced to two years in city jail, according to the New York County District Attorney’s Office.
Wojciech Braszczok was acquitted in June on the charge of gang assault in the first degree, but found guilty on lesser charges of second-degree assault, first-degree riot, second-degree criminal mischief and two counts of first-degree coercion, all felonies.
“Acts of violence can rapidly escalate, and in this case, within a matter of minutes this group of bikers began a ferocious and unrelenting assault on the victim, alarmingly close to his wife and young daughter. The convictions of 11 defendants demonstrate that gang violence of any kind is a threat to public safety that will not be tolerated,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement after the convictions.
Alexian Lien and his wife, Rosalyn Ng, testified in New York Supreme Court about the videotaped attack that started in the southern tip of New York City and ended with injuries to multiple people in northern Manhattan.
Lien described the feeling when he realized a motorcycle rally had escalated to a mob: “Complete fear of my life, my wife’s and my daughter’s,” he said in court Monday.
Ng told the court Tuesday: “I thought we were going to die.”
The incident began near the southern tip of Manhattan when bikers began blocking traffic and running red lights, endangering pedestrians, Lien testified. Once traffic began to move forward, the bikers were slapping the other cars open-handed as they navigated between the cars, he said.
Growing increasingly annoyed by the slow-moving traffic as the family tried to celebrate their anniversary by shopping and dinner in New Jersey, Ng threw a half-eaten plum out of the window, Lien said.
It was after this that one of the men on motorcycle punched the driver side mirror of Lien’s SUV, he said. When Ng tried to take a picture of the cyclist’s license plate, the bikers got angrier, he said.
“He was waving for other motorcyclist to come towards us. He was yelling at us, and he was threatening us,” Lien said in court Monday. “You can tell that he was screaming profanities at us, and he was also making gestures, slitting a throat gesture.”
The SUV and the bikers continued north on the highway when the SUV taps one of the motorcycles from behind.
“A motorcyclist pulls up in front of me, and he starts speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, slowing down,” Lien said in court. “At a point where he slowed down too fast and I wasn’t able to break fast enough, so I tapped him… he didn’t wobble, he didn’t fall off his bike, continued.”
Bikers got off of their bikes and surrounded the SUV. They used their helmets as a device to attempt to smash in the car windows, according to a video of the attack.
After cyclists were able to briefly open the passenger door, Ng told her husband to pull away: “We’re not going to survive this if we’re sitting here. So I told him just go, just go. He honked and then he turned the wheel,” she said. “I thought we went over a bike or something like that and then we just sped off.”
The SUV had run over one of the bikers, seriously injuring him. Sims’ attorney has said his client helped save that rider’s life, according to CNN affiliate WABC.
At the same time, men tried to pull his wife from the passenger seat.
“They get my door open and there’s like two, three guys in there, they’re like hanging me out like this one’s pulling my leg, another grabbing my arm. They’re saying, ‘I’m going to kill you, I’m going to get you,’” Ng testified. “They couldn’t drag me out of the car because I had my seat belt on still.”
Ng then climbed into the back seat to get to her 2-year-old-daughter, who had “glass all over her” from a broken window, she testified.
Also calling 911 at the time, Ng told the dispatcher: “my husband’s bleeding all over the street, it’s, we need help. We need an ambulance,” according to recordings of the call.
Calls to the defendants’ attorneys were not immediately returned. Defense attorney John Arlia said the off-duty Braszczok did not take part in the attack and did not tell colleagues about seeing the assault because he feared for his job, according to WABC.
Braszczok’s attorney did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Joseph Schatt, special to CNN, contributed to this report.