Update 3:59 p.m. Questions have arisen over the legitimacy of a GoFundMe campaign soliciting donations for Alexian Lien's recovery.
Update 2:39 p.m.: The New York Daily News obtained a photo of Reginald Chance flipping both middle fingers at cameras and reporters before his arraignment.
It has been just over a week since a video of bikers attacking a sport utility vehicle on a highway in New York City went viral on September 29. Since then, three bikers have been charged by the New York City Police Department.
Reginald Chance, 37, was the latest to be brought up on charges, for allegedly smashing the front window of Alexian Lien’s Range Rover SUV with a helmet, just moments before Lien was pulled from the vehicle and assaulted as his wife and child looked on, according to NBC News.
The video that went viral captured the events leading up to the assault via a helmet-mounted camera.
Chance was charged with assault, gang assault, criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful imprisonment, according to the same NBC News report. His bail was set at $100,000 by the judge.
Chance’s attorney, Gregory Watts, said the gang assault charge was excessive.
"My client obviously overreacted in smashing the window, but beyond that he was not a participant in any assault on the victim," Watts told NBC New York.
One of the two people originally arrested, Allen Edwards, a 42-year-old Queens resident, was released earlier last week after prosecutors refused to prosecute him, despite police initially holding him on charges of reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and menacing, according to the New York Times.
“Prematurely charging individuals with low-level crimes does not further the goals of the investigation, and could weaken the cases we expect to bring against the perpetrators of serious crimes,” said Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, a prosecutor overseeing the case, said in a statement. She continued, “After we investigate the facts and each person's individual actions, we will know what charges can be supported by the evidence. There is still a tremendous amount of investigation to be done.”
However, 28-year-old Christopher Cruz, a biker clipped by the SUV, was charged with reckless driving and unlawful imprisonment for his role in slowing down in front of the SUV, allegedly causing the altercation. Though Cruz posted bail with a $15,000 insurance bond and $1,500 cash bail, he was ordered to surrender his passport and his license was suspended, according to CNN.
Last Thursday, Rosalyn Ng, Lien’s wife, released a statement about the events that occurred that Sunday. In the statement, Ng also expressed sympathy for the biker who was run over by the SUV as Lien fled from the biker pack.
An excerpt from the statement:
“Our sympathies go out to the injured motorcyclist and his family. However, we were faced with a life-threatening situation, and my husband was forced under the circumstances to take the actions that he did in order to protect the lives of our entire family.”
Jeremiah Edwin Mieses, 32, the biker Lien hit as he fled, suffered a broken spine, broken legs and other internal injuries. Mieses is also an aspiring rapper from outside Boston who goes by the name “Jay Meezee.”
Gloria Allred, the Mieses family’s lawyer, claimed that Mieses was attempting to calm the crowd after the initial collision occurred, according to NBC News.
Neither Lien nor Mieses was charged with a crime.
Facebook pages were set up after the incident went viral in support of Alexian Lien and Jeremiah “Jay Meezee” Edwin Mieses.
The NYPD has also opened an internal investigation after at least one undercover NYPD officer revealed that he was present during the incident but did nothing to stop it for fear of blowing his cover, according to ABC News.
Currently, the NYPD is looking for help identifying two more suspects connected with the attack on the SUV. Tips can be submitted to the NYPD at 1-800-577 TIPS (8477), texting CRIMES (27463) and entering TIP577, or contacting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.
Luke Villapaz is a Multimedia Producer at the International Business Times. He comes from a diverse media background working freelance in production and photography. Luke...