AP sources: Evidence NYC detective pounded on SUV

Craig Wright, right, stands in court with his attorney Mitchell Elman in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. (Jefferson Siegel, Pool — AP Photo)
Craig Wright, right, stands in court with his attorney Mitchell Elman in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. (Jefferson Siegel, Pool — AP Photo)

NEW YORK (AP) - An off-duty, undercover police detective was seen on video pounding on an SUV when a biker rally spiraled into violence, two people familiar with the case said Tuesday.
Although his lawyer said Monday that the detective had only witnessed other bikers attacking the vehicle, investigators have video evidence of him hitting it, according to the two people, who were not authorized to discuss the inquiry and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The disclosure added to the complexities of the Sept. 29 episode, which authorities say began with a reckless motorcycle group ride on a Manhattan highway. It ended with one motorcyclist run over and the SUV driver dragged from his car and beaten on a city street.
Four bikers have been criminally charged; the latest was arraigned Tuesday on gang assault and other charges.
Police internal affairs investigators have been looking into the undercover detective's conduct because he didn't report until three days later that he had been at the rally. The expectation that officers will act if they see a crime are aren't the same for undercover officers.
The detective's lawyer, Phil Karasyk, didn't immediately return a call Tuesday.
Captured partly on a video that was posted online, the encounter began when about two dozen riders slowed down, swarming a Range Rover after it bumped a biker on Manhattan's West Side Highway. Some riders dismounted and approached the vehicle, and police said some bikers began damaging the SUV.
The SUV's driver, Alexian Lien, took off, running over motorcyclist Edwin "Jay" Mieses Jr. The impact broke both Mieses' legs and caused spinal injuries that may leave him paralyzed.
Lien's wife has said he feared for their lives and the safety of their 2-year-old daughter and had no choice but to flee; Lien hasn't been charged with any crime.
The bikers then pursued the SUV, which exited the highway and got stuck in street traffic. One biker used his helmet to shatter the driver's window, and others pulled Lien out and beat and kicked him, police and prosecutors said. Lien needed stitches.
The latest motorcyclist charged in the case, Craig Wright, 29, punched Lien through the broken window and joined in stomping him on the street, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Samantha Turino said. A judge set Wright's bail at $100,000.
Wright's lawyer, Mitchell Elman, cautioned against any "rush to judgment" in the highly scrutinized case.
"Mr. Wright, obviously, has every right to fight these charges," he said.
When the assault unfolded, the undercover detective saw motorcyclists attacking the SUV, but he didn't see anyone harm Lien, Karasyk said Monday. The detective also didn't see the SUV hit Mieses, the attorney said.
Carrying no badge or gun, and aware of cases in which officers had been suspended or dismissed for blowing their cover, "he had no other option, so he drove away," said Karasyk, who works with the Detectives' Endowment Association union.
Associated Press writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.

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