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Undercover Detective Arraigned In SUV Motorcycle Assault

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TWC News: Undercover Detective Arraigned In SUV Motorcycle Assault
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An undercover detective and one other motorcycle rider were arraigned Wednesday on charges stemming from last weekend's road rage incident involving bikers and an SUV in Upper Manhattan, and police say a seventh person is under arrest in connection with the incident.

Wojciech Braszczok, 32, is charged with first-degree gang assault, first-degree assault and third-degree criminal mischief, while Clint Caldwell, 32, is charged with first-degree gang assault and first-degree assault.

Police say Braszczok, a 10-year NYPD veteran, is seen on video pounding the back of the SUV and breaking the back window.

Braszczok's defense team, however, said that that doesn't make sense.

Braszczok's lawyer says his client only witnessed other bikers attacking the vehicle.

He also says the detective was not carrying a badge or gun since he was undercover, and simply drove away so he wouldn't risk blowing his cover.

"The video will exonerate our client," said John Arlia, Braszczok's attorney. "The video depicts, and I defy the prosecution to say otherwise, that my client, our client, at no point, is anywhere near Mr. Lien. The allegation is, they allege that he struck the rear portion, hatchback window, which has a gaping hole already in it. It's already destroyed. Under the law, it's a fatal flaw. You can't break what's already broken."

The district attorney's office says the off-duty detective did a lot more.

"He is also on video kicking the passenger-side rear door and window area multiple times," said Assistant District Attorney Erin Choi. "It should be noted, Your Honor, that the 2-year-old child of the complainant was in the back seat at the time the defendant was committing these violent acts."

The defense team fired back, telling the court that the SUV driver was the violent one.

"Mr. Lien has run over someone and has paralyzed him, so it would be very reasonable for other motorcyclists to chase after a fleeting auto from an accident," Arlia said.

Braszczok was led out of court in a dark hoodie and cloth covering his face to protect his identity.

His attorneys argued that if he is seen in the media both he and his family's lives will be at risk.

Caldwell is charged with punching Lien.

Caldwell's attorney, Raymond Colon, said it wasn't his client.

Colon said that his client is a good guy and doesn't have a criminal record.

"You'll clearly see from the video, he doesn't reach into the window," Colon said. "There is another individual that's standing next to him that does reach into the window, but it's not my client."

Bail for both men was set at $150,000 bond or $100,000 cash.

They are due back in court on October 11.

Meanwhile, police arrested a seventh person Wednesday night in connection with the case.

Police say 31-year-old James Kuehne is charged with gang assault, assault, criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon.

The Manhattan district attorney's office says it is scrutinizing each piece of evidence to make sure everyone who may have been involved is properly identified.

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