NYPD Detective Seen on Video Attacking SUV is Charged

By Richard Esposito and Shimon Prokupecz, NBC News, October 8, 2013

An undercover New York police detective seen on video smashing the back window of an SUV during an attack by a pack of angry motorcyclists was arrested Tuesday on charges of riot and criminal mischief after surrendering in Manhattan, police said.

Detective Wojciech Braszczok, 32, was accompanied by his attorney when he surrendered.

Sources told NBC News earlier Tuesday that the officer was seen on a newly obtained video banging on the rear window of the SUV and shattering it. The victim, who was beaten by numerous motorcyclists in the Sept. 29 incident, was then seen being pulled out of the car as the undercover officer rode off, the sources said.

The video is not the one that has been widely distributed on YouTube, but has been reviewed by investigators, the sources said. It was recorded by a bystander using his iPad. It’s not clear when the video surfaced but investigators learned of it late Monday.

The detective had originally been defended by officials as a deep undercover officer who failed to act in defense of the motorist because that might have unmasked him. But when the new videotape surfaced those officials felt duped, sources said.

The detective already had been criticized for waiting until Wednesday to come forward and acknowledge he was present at the scene.

This account of the new video was first published in the New York Post and confirmed by WNBC, the NBC owned-and-operated station in New York.

Police have so far charged three men in connection with the assault on the driver, Alexian Lien, who was pulled from his vehicle and beaten in front of his wife and daughter in an incident captured on videotape, and have a fourth in custody awaiting charges.

New York police released photos Tuesday of four more people who may have been involved in the brawl. They asked anyone with information to get in touch with New York Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or at the Crime Stoppers website.

Before Braszczok’s name emerged, sources had described him as a veteran officer who has spent virtually all of his career undercover, sources say.

Michael Palladino, president of the NYPD detectives’ union, the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said on Monday that 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.

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