Wojciech Braszczok, 32, is the undercover NYPD officer charged with riot and criminal mischief and assault relating to his alleged role in the road rage attack that occurred in Manhattan on September 29 and spawned a viral video, reports CBS New York.
While driving on Manhattan's West Side Highway, Alexian Lien, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter were accosted by a group of bikers. The "Hollywood Stuntz" riders intimidated the family to such an extent that Lien panicked and drove through a group of the bikers, gravely injuring one. The bikers then pursued Lien's SUV, eventually dragging him from the car and assaulting him.
Braszczok allegedly took part, smashing the SUV's rear window.
He was arraigned and released this afternoon after posting $150,000 bail.
Wojciech Braszczok- undercover det allegedly involved in SUV assault out of jail. Covered face in mob pic.twitter.com/cEcb5eSgAE
— Brynn Gingras (@Brynn4NY) October 9, 2013
The AP reports was an "active participant" in the attack, according to prosecutors.
Here's what you need to know about Braszczok and his alleged involvement:
1. He Was Previously Undercover at Occupy Wall Street
NBC New York reports that Braszczok was one of the undercover officers present during the Occupy Wall Street protests. He's been with the NYPD since 2003 and has spent the last five years in an undercover unit.
The Gothamist reports that during his time with the Occupy movement, Braszczok slept with protesters at Zuccotti Park, joined in marches, all the time reporting back to his superior officers.
2. For an 'Undercover' Guy, He Has an Active (and Damning) Online Presence
After it emerged that Braszczok was undercover at Occupy, Twitter accounts for the infamous hacktivist group Anonymous made it their mission to out the infiltrator — and they successfully crowdsourced several links, photos and videos that tied the cop to the online persona "Evovillen."
Heavy initially refrained from sharing this information, though we captured screengrabs and downloaded photos associated with the Twitter, Google+, Soundcloud and other accounts tied to Evovillen.
The New York Post quickly confirmed the connection, even noting:
He was so careless that he used close variations of the same screen name — “evovillen” — for both real-life and undercover communications while infiltrating Occupy Wall Street last year as “Al” the protester.
The reference is in part to this post on Streeteasy.com:
Evovillen also posted naked pictures of women on his Photobucket account:
He posted a motorcycle that matches the description of his bike in the arrest documents:
There are multiple pics online of his mohawk and its variations:
His Google+ page is tied to an alias:
3. Video Footage Allegedly Implicates Him
Braszczok handed himself over to NYPD on October 8, accompanied by his then-lawyer, longtime cop-defender Phil Karasyk, who famously:
Orchestrated the successful defense and acquittal of several New York City Detectives following the police involved shooting at the Kalua Club in Queens, N.Y. He proudly serves as General Counsel to the Detectives Endowment Association and Lieutenants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department.
Gothamist reports that Braszczok has switched lawyers. Karasyk was a union lawyer, and the officer is now being represented by John Arila.
Braszczok originally made statements that he arrived on the scene of the assault too late to do anything.
It's reported that a new, as-yet unreleased video, shows Braszczok breaking the back window of the SUV and kicking the vehicle.
4. He Didn't Report His Presence on the Bike Ride to Superiors Until Days Later
Breaking protocol, Braszczok did not tell his superiors that he had been with the bikers, known as The Hollywood Stuntz, prior to the assault.
CBS New York says: "The expectation that police officer will act if they see crimes isn't the same for undercover officers."
Furthermore, once coming forward, he allegedly lied about his involvement — saying he saw the attack but did not take part.
5. He's the Second Cop Named in Relation to the Assault
On October 8, Detective Samir Gonsalves out of Brooklyn was named as the first cop being questioned over his presence at the Hollywood Stuntz bike ride.
In August 2013, Gonsalves was suspended to fighting with an assistant district attorney, Jacqueline Rizk, on the streets of Astoria, Queens, reported The New York Post.
The Post reported at the time:
Gonsalves pushed one of the officers and was wrestled to the ground, cops said. While his colleagues were cuffing Gonsalves, of Brooklyn’s 88th Precinct, Rizk allegedly jumped on a cop’s back.
The two were reported to be dating and were drunk. The altercation happened at 10:15 a.m.