Undercover NYPD Cop Arrested for Role in SUV Driver Assault

The officer, who was not on duty, came forward several days after the Sept. 29 fight to say he was present, according to a source

By Shimon Prokupecz
|  Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013  |  Updated 9:07 AM EDT
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An NYPD officer who was on a deep undercover assignment when a violent fight erupted between a group of motorcyclists and a man driving a Range Rover in Manhattan is seen on new video smashing a window on the SUV, sources say. Tracie Strahan reports.

NBC 4 New York

An NYPD officer who was on a deep undercover assignment when a violent fight erupted between a group of motorcyclists and a man driving a Range Rover in Manhattan is seen on new video smashing a window on the SUV, sources say. Tracie Strahan reports.

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An NYPD officer who was on a deep undercover assignment when a violent fight erupted between a group of motorcyclists and a man driving a Range Rover in Manhattan has been arrested, police say.

Detective Wojciech Braszczok, 32, turned himself in to police Tuesday evening and was charged with riot and criminal mischief, according to police. He was with his attorney when he surrendered and is expected to make a court appearance Wednesday. 

Braszczok has spent 10 years with the NYPD, the last five as an undercover, including during the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to a law enforcement official.

During his time with Occupy Wall Street, he participated in demonstrations, attended meetings and essentially lived like a protester to provide information to the NYPD, according to the official. 

His attorney, Phil Karasyk, has declined to comment.

Braszczok was seen on new video punching the SUV, shattering its rear window, a law enforcement official told NBC 4 New York earlier Tuesday. 

Braszczok, who was not on duty, came forward last Wednesday, several days after the Sept. 29 chase that ended in a fight, to say he was present, according to a source, and did not call 911 when the assault was taking place.

The video that just recently surfaced shows the undercover smashing the window, but not participating in the assault. He rides off when the driver is pulled from the SUV, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The video has not been made public.

Sources say Braszczok was not truthful with investigators about his role. 

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said earlier in the day that a detective had been placed on modified duty and that his involvement is under investigation.

Undercover officers are required to immediately report being a witness to a crime. Uniformed officers are required to take police action if they see a crime occurring, but the rules are murkier for undercover officers who face blowing their cover, confusing civilians who don't realize the undercover is really a cop and ruining years-long investigations.
 
It is not clear why Braszczok was riding with the group of motorcyclists. 

Five bikers aside from Braszczok have been criminally charged; the latest two were arraigned Tuesday on gang assault and other charges.

Those two motorcyclists were identified by police as Craig Wright and Clint Caldwell. Prosecutors say Wright punched the SUV driver through the broken window and joined in stomping him on the street. A judge set Wright's bail at $100,000.
 
Wright's lawyer, Mitchell Elman, cautioned against any "rush to judgment" in the highly scrutinized case.
 
"Mr. Wright, obviously, has every right to fight these charges," he said.
 
Attorney information for Caldwell was not immediately available. 

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