New York Post – by Larry Celona, Jamie Schram and Kate Sheehy
An off-duty undercover cop who had claimed he took no active role as fellow bikers pulled a Manhattan dad from his SUV and beat him to a pulp was actually pounding the vehicle with his fists at the height of the bloody road-rage attack, sources told The Post.
The cop, a seven-year veteran, had told investigators he didn’t help the injured man because he rode up to the scene as the beating was nearly over, sources said.
But video footage clearly shows otherwise, disgusted sources said Monday — and Internal Affairs Bureau higher-ups want to nail the officer.
Still, probers believe their hands are tied, sources said, because authorities have dropped charges against another biker, Allen Edwards, 43, of Queens, who allegedly punched the rear window of Alexian Lien’s Range Rover before Lien was pummeled in front of his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
At the time, the chief of the Manhattan district attorney’s Trials Division, Karen Friedman Agnifilo, defended the move, saying, “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.”
But the cop will likely face internal charges. He didn’t tell his bosses he was with the bikers — much less at the crime scene — until more than three days after the Sept. 29 attack.
The unidentified cop has already been placed on modified duty and turned in his gun and badge.
“I think we all, no matter what your job is, have an obligation to help one another,’’ Mayor Bloomberg said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe’’ on Monday, in response to questioning about the officer’s actions. “And if you see somebody getting beaten up, you know, let’s go jump in and stop the fight.”
The explosive development came as a fourth biker was arrested in Lien’s beating.
Craig Wright, 29, was nabbed at his Canarsie home on Monday. Wright was busted after cops allegedly saw him in witness video that has not yet been made public.
In the clip, Wright is seen throwing punches through the shattered driver’s-side window of the 33-year-old victim’s Range Rover, according to a law-enforcement source. He is also seen allegedly kicking Lien outside the SUV.
He was charged with gang-assault and assault Monday night.
The biker was tracked down after cops traced his license plate, sources said. The bike is actually registered to his uncle, who he borrowed it from, sources said.
Cops are searching for at least two more suspects.
Meanwhile, Christopher Cruz, 28, who allegedly started the chain of events by slowing down his bike to let his pals ahead — leaving Lien to bump his car into him — said in an interview aired Monday that he felt no responsibility.
“I was looking over my shoulder to see where my friends were,” he told ABC News. “I wanted them to pull in front so I could follow them. I didn’t brake, but when I looked over my shoulder, my hand came off the throttle a little, but the driver didn’t slow down at all and bumped me.”
Additional reporting by Kirstan Conley and Yoav Gonen