Approximately two weeks ago, a gang of bikers was filmed attacking an SUV in New York. Since the video was released, authorities have been searching for those involved in beating Alexian Lien and terrorizing his wife and 2 year old child.
Yesterday, Wojciech Braszczok, an undercover NYPD police officer, was charged with gang assault, assault, and criminal mischief for his role in the September 29 attack on Lien and his family.
According to DNAinfo.com, Wojciech Braszczok has been working undercover for the NYPD for 10 years. During 2011, Braszczok spent weeks infiltrating the Occupy Wall Street movement. Braszczok currently works with the NYPD’s Organized Crime Intelligence Division and may have been scouting out another case for the division when the assault occurred.
A source familiar with the case told DNAinfo that “Sometimes an undercover spends too much time in a role, becomes the character and forgets what side of the law he is on.”
Prosecutors for Lien state that “Much of what I have described, your honor – including this assault – was captured on video in what can only be described as a brutal and brazen attack on the driver and his family, in which this defendant is an active participant. This defendant also did nothing to stop it, including not calling 911.”
The prosecution’s claim brings up an important aspect to the case: To what extent is an undercover officer obligated to break his cover in order to prevent a crime from occurring?
Give us your answer in the Comment Section below.
Regardless of the answer to that question, Braszczok did more than stand idly by. Prosecutors believe video evidence shows Braszczok “terrorize(d) the rest of the driver’s family on the other side of the vehicle,” with Assistant District Attorney Samantha Turino adding, “It should be noted that the 2-year-old child of (Lien) was in the backseat at the time the defendant was committing these violent acts.”
The defense views Braszczok’s actions in a different light, however. John Arila, Braszczok’s attorney, told the judge that his client never got within 12 feet of the victim: “His activity in that video depict him never have coming in contact with Mr. Lien, touching him, and in no way having the intent of anyone that would have hurt him or intended to hurt him.”
Arila even believes that Braszczok cannot be held responsible for breaking the rear-window of the SUV, stating that one cannot break what has already been broken: “There was a “gaping softball [sized] hole” in the window that the detective is accused of breaking.”
If convicted on all the counts, Braszczok can face up to 5 years in prison.
Image via YouTube