[Updated: Sunday, Oct. 6, 11:40 a.m.] The “Justice for Jay Meezee Facebook” page continues to gain “likes,” but most of the comments on the page are in support of Alexian Lien, the SUV driver. Many commenters appear to have visited the page just to say they believe Meezee got what he deserved. The page admin posted an update saying moderation of the page has been difficult.
Bitter lines are being drawn in the sand following Sunday’s violent motorcycle chase on Manhattan’s west side.
Taking opposite sides of the schism, Facebook users are rallying around two people involved in the incident: Alexian Lien, the 33-year-old family man who was chased up the West Side Highway, pulled out of his SUV and beaten by bikers, and Jay Meezee, the aspiring rapper and biker whom Lien hit with his vehicle. Portions of the incident were caught on video and uploaded to YouTube.
On the pro-Lien side, several community Facebook pages are calling for justice, the largest being Justice For Alexian Lien, which was launched on Tuesday and had more than 7,500 likes by Thursday afternoon. The page administrator tells Lien’s story this way:
“Alexian Lien was attacked by a group of bikers who I believe were out looking for trouble and trying to instigate a fight. He ran over one of the bikers trying to flee for his life when he was chased down the Henry Hudson Parkway and harassed further!!”
Lien supporters have been using the page to express well wishes and post news updates that help corroborate their version of the story, including an article in the Eagle Tribune saying that Meezee (whose real name is Edwin Mieses Jr.) had his driver’s license revoked since 1999.
A statement released by the Lien family said that Lien had feared for his life when, surrounded by a “mob of reckless and violent motorcyclists,” he hit the accelerator and sped away, striking Meezee.
But the pro-Meezee side sees it differently. On the Facebook page Justice For Jay Meezee, which had over 22,000 likes as of Thursday, users are characterizing the biker as an innocent bystander who was on the ground attending an injured person when he was “run over like an animal.”
“[I]f you watch the video you will see he was just riding minding his own business. He witnessed an accident and got off his bike went to the ground to help the biker that was hit!!! He was being a good Samaritan a person with an amazing heart that will always do for others!!!”
The disagreement is not just playing out on Facebook. Dueling crowd-funding campaigns are underway on GoFundMe, which is often used to raise funds for medical bills and other personal issues. As of Thursday, a campaign to raise money for Lien and his family has raised $2,310, while a campaign to raise funds for Meezee had raised $2,415. Both are seeking $5,000.
Meezee suffered serious injuries, including spine injuries and two broken legs. Several Facebook postings citing his girlfriend, Dayana Mejia, say he is in a coma and may be paralyzed.
The incident has officials calling for crackdowns on motorcycle crowds. New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio called the brawl part of a “phenomenon” in which biker gangs are trying to “take over” certain city streets, according to the Daily News.
Meezee supporters have complained that the media is unfairly spinning the story in an effort to vilify motorcyclists. Meezee and the other bikers were reportedly taking part in an underground event called Hollywood Stuntz, in which riders perform stunts and film them for the Internet. Police say the events are hard to manage because chasing motorcyclists through city streets is dangerous.
Police say they are still investigating the incident and have not ruled out charges against Lien.