Undercover Cop Defends Himself in NYC Biker Attack Case, As Reports Cast Doubt

Lawyer says off-duty detective rode with bikers chasing SUV, but didn't see brutal attack

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Update: An undercover, off-duty New York Police Department police officer has been arrested in connection with last week’s brutal beating of an SUV driver, CBS reports.

An undercover, off-duty New York police detective riding with a pack of bikers who brutally beat the driver of an SUV last month did not see the man get assaulted, his lawyer said Monday. But reports on Tuesday morning cast doubt on his claims of innocence.

The incident made national news after video of the motorcyclists chasing the SUV, which had run over one of the bikers after they swarmed the car, went viral on YouTube. The detective joined the bikers in chasing the SUV up a New York City highway because he thought there had been a hit-and-run, but his lawyer said he was not on the scene when the bikers allegedly smashed Alexian Lien’s window and beat him senseless in front of his two-year old daughter, the Associated Press reports.

Reports by both NBC News and the New York Post pushed back against the cop’s claims on Tuesday morning. Both news outlets, citing anonymous law enforcement sources, reported that video shows the undercover officer at the scene of the assault. NBC News reports the officer did not appear in the video to join in the assault, but the Post reports the officer was pounding on the victim’s vehicle.

While it is customary for off-duty police officers to intervene if they see a crime, it’s less common for undercover officers to do so. The detective was conscious of blowing his cover, which could have resulted in suspension or dismissal, his lawyer said. He was not carrying a gun or badge.

Four bikers have been charged in the assault. The detective has been stripped of his gun while internal affairs investigates.