NEW YORK (PIX11) – The fact that at least two off-duty NYPD officers — undercover officer Wojciech Braszczok and Internal Affairs Bureau officer Matt Rodriguez — were connected to the mass motorbike pursuit and beating of an SUV driver late last month, can not only compromise the integrity of the department, it also puts the public’s safety at risk in unexpected ways. That’s the analysis by at least one criminal legal expert.
The group — that some have called a swarm — of motorbike riders who had surrounded the SUV Alexian Lien and his wife and daughter were in, ended up causing the string of hazardous events, according to police. Ironically police have had to arrest one of their own, Braszczok, in the wake of the September 29th incident, and the other cop, Rodriguez faces internal discipline and possible criminal charges as well.
The two cops did not intervene in any way at any time during the encounter between a biker and the SUV which Lien was driving, which ultimately led to Lien feeling he had to run over another biker to save his life and that of his wife and baby daughter, who were passengers in the vehicle. Bikers then followed Lien, and beat him severely when they caught up with him.
Both officers tried for days after the string of incidents to try and keep secret that they were even there.
“What kind of police force wants these people, and what kind of police force is happy to have them?” asked attorney Ron Kuby, in an interview with PIX11 News.
Kuby has gained has gained international prominence in law after defending everyone from blind cleric and terror suspect Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman to to the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. He said the fact that Wojciech Braszczok is an undercover cop could pose major problems for law enforcement.
“Any case that [Braszczok] is currently involved in has to be dismissed,” said Kuby. “I mean, how does the prosecution call the undercover to testify against a defendant when it’s the same prosecutor that’s prosecuting the undercover [cop] for felony gang assault?”
Officer Matt Rodriguez is in the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, which is a division of the police department that investigates complaints against fellow officers. Rodriguez works in the bureau’s command center. According to a departmental memo obtained by PIX11 News, “The Command Center officer’s role is fundamental to the Department’s effective investigation of police corruption.”
Noting that status, Kuby was not impressed with Officer Rodriguez’s alleged actions during the series of events two weeks ago Sunday. “When you have an internal affairs officer who’s present during an illegal gang assault — admittedly, that’s a pretty low bar for the police,” the famed defense attorney said.
Police Commissioner Kelly was asked about the then-off-duty officers being involved in this crime. He said that he would not talk about specific details related to their involvement.