The SUV gang assault by a swarm of enraged bikers continues to make headline news into its second week. New details have emerged regarding the NYPD officers who stood by and watched, as well as an unsung hero who stepped forth to attempt to stop the vicious beating, reports the CS Monitor on Oct. 7.
In case you've missed the details leading up to this week’s news, here is a recap:
The motorcyclist who first attacked the SUV driven by Alexian Lien, 37-year-old Reggie Chance, instigated the horrific encounter by removing his helmet and smashing Lien’s driver side window. Chance was arraigned Sunday on gang assault and other major charges.
The incident was caught on video by one of the motorcyclists’ helmet cams.
The biker who swerved directly in front of Lien’s SUV, Christopher Cruz from N.J., started it all by forcing Lien to accidentally hit him. Cruz was charged last week with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, endangering the welfare of a child and menacing. He was released on $1,500 bail. Cruz says the reason he brake-checked the SUV was to allow the entire gang of bikers to move in front of Lien.
Cruz told ABC's Good Morning America that he wasn't looking for trouble. “I try to stay away from trouble as much as possible,” said Cruz. He was ultimately only charged with reckless endangerment.
Lien, who was with his wife Rosalyn and their 2-year-old child, stopped to ensure Cruz was okay, but was accosted by the other bikers who began to damage his SUV. Afraid for his life and that of his family, Lien fled, driving over one of the bikers and at least three motorcycles. The driver that Lien ran over, 28-year-old Edward Mieses, was left paralyzed.
The horde of furious bikers took off and hounded Lien on a harrowing 4-mile chase. When Lien was trapped at an intersection, they smashed his window, dragged him to the street, and beat him bloody.
Chance’s lawyer, Gregory Watts, now says the charges against his client are “overblown,” saying that Chance had no part in the actual beating subsequent to his breaking in the SUVs window.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Samantha Turino shared a different view. While acknowledging the fact Chance didn't hit or kick the driver, by shattering the SUV's driver's-side window, he “set into motion a chain of events that resulted in the driver being dragged out of his vehicle and beaten,” Turino said.
Chance was remanded back to jail under a $75,000 bond.
“This is not a man riding around assaulting people with a quote-unquote ‘gang,’” Watts said. “We will hotly contest those allegations.”
Perhaps indicative of the man’s character, who has been unemployed since 2011 and is a father of six yet can find time to join a gang of lawless street bikers, Chance made an obscene gesture toward news cameras during his court appearance.
Speaking of the viral videos, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Lien was "surrounded by about 20 to 30 motorcyclists. They take their helmets and they start to dent his car and apparently his tires are slashed there with a knife. He’s in the car with his wife. He continues to drive."
A witness to the biker pack, Cynthia Williams, said: “They had been riding all over the city being a menace. They went up on the sidewalk. It was just so many of them that they took up the whole street.”
“We had over 200 calls just on Sunday about this group operating in a reckless manner,” Commissioner Kelly confirmed.
As the NYPD investigates just how many of their own officers, undercover or not, witnessed the attack and chose to do nothing, a civilian bystander is being hailed as a hero for stepping in to do what so many others could, or would not do – Put their life on the line to protect another.
The CS Monitor picks up the heartwarming element of this tragic story:
"Lien was on the ground when bystander Sergio Consuegra stepped in between him and the bikers, Consuegra recalled at a news conference with local officials.
"Feeling 'intense danger,' Consuegra said he told himself, 'Let me not show these people that I'm here to engage in any kind of confrontation but that I'm here to protect the man and the family, so I'm going to keep it cool,' he recalled. Consuegra, who's in his 50s, was on his way to church when he saw the encounter.
"He spread his arms to shield the driver and told the bikers: 'That's it, guys. Let it go. That's it. Let it go,' he said. The bikers backed off, and Consuegra called police.
"He said he felt he'd done the right thing. But 'I do not call myself a hero,' he said, 'because I wish I could have done more.'"