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Local News

October 11, 2013

Bikers: Off-camera acts led to NYC driver run-in

(Continued)

Allred declined to say what other witnesses had contacted her, but another biker who participated in the rally, Louis Castaldo, gave a similar account in an interview on Fox 5 News.

Castaldo said that when bikers tried to approach Lien’s Range Rover, Lien “decides to run over three or four people. ... He should have just apologized.”

Images made public have painted a narrative that begins with Cruz, of Passaic, N.J., pulling in front of the black Range Rover and decelerating to the point where the vehicle bumps his back tire.

Cruz, since his arrest on reckless endangerment and other charges, has insisted he looked over at the driver only to change lanes and didn’t deliberately slow down. He didn’t see any prior interaction that may have happened between the SUV and the motorcyclists, said his attorney, H. Benjamin Perez. Cruz waited on the highway for police when other riders chased after Lien, Perez said.

“He’s treated as though he orchestrated this entire event,” Perez said. “It’s crazy.”

Authorities have used the video footage to bring charges against Cruz and six other motorcyclists, including an off-duty undercover police detective.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said the detective, Wojciech Braszczok, lied when he said he didn’t witness the assault. Video has surfaced showing him punching out the back window, prosecutors said. His lawyer says he’ll be exonerated.

On Thursday, prosecutors said the latest biker arrested, James Kuehne, had used his helmet to bash Lien as he lay on the ground. Kuehne was released on $200,000 bond after his arraignment on gang assault and other charges. He hasn’t entered a plea.

Lien hasn’t been charged with a crime and hasn’t spoken publicly about the case. His wife, who was in the SUV with him and their 2-year-old child, has blamed the bikers for putting the family in “grave danger.”

“We were faced with a life-threatening situation, and my husband was forced under the circumstances to take the actions he did in order to protect the lives of our entire family,” she said in a statement.

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