NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — It was a story that made headlines around the world. A confrontation between the driver of an SUV and a group of motorcyclists on the West Side Highway.
The incident was caught on video; the SUV driver sped away and ran over a biker. Other bikers gave chase and wound up attacking the driver of the SUV.
Several police officers were a part of the pack of bikers leading many to wonder how the situation got so out of control.
Watch The Full Video Below: WARNING — GRAPHIC IMAGES
Police make a pledge to protect the public , but some officers are avid bikers who have pledged their allegiance to a motorcycle club.
Bikers at an Irvington, New Jersey motorcycle club claimed that they are regular, everyday people.
“We are family oriented people. We either have a mother, wife, kids,” Biscocho, President of La Familia Motorcycle Club’s New Jersey chapter told CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian.
In a room full of bikers, corrections officers mingled with ex-cons.
“You’re free to ride next to the police officer and the lawyer and you get the same amount of respect,” East Orange Front Line Soldiers Motorcycle Club President Pistol Pete explained, “Even if you have a criminal record. I can tell you there are a great many people with scratches on their record but that doesn’t define what they’ll do in their future.”
On September 24, several police officers were among the group of riders who apparently surrounded SUV driver Alex Lien along with his wife and daughter on the West Side Highway.
Riders allegedly slashed Lien’s tires. Lien barreled over biker Edwin Mieses and another biker sped after him.
That biker, Wojciech Broszczok, allegedly struck the SUV while other riders beat Lien. Broszczok has been charged with gang assault and criminal mischief.
“His emotions took over. It’s just like when you have a crime of passion,” Pistol Pete said.
Broszczok didn’t even know Mieses, according to a source. The two men simply happened to be riding at the same event.
Broszczok is a cop and Mieses is an ex-con with a long rap sheet, but according to Pistol Pete the two are brothers.
“I know there is no way I could sit by and watch someone drive over one of my brothers and do nothing,” he said.
Authorities told CBS 2’s Dardashtian that being in a blind brotherhood can blur the reality between right and wrong.
“You gotta be aware of who you’re hanging out with especially if you’re in law enforcement,” Former FBI Agent Mike Harkins explained.
Harkins said that bikers may often adopt a ‘street mentality’.
“You have a few bad apples scattered within and they will incite some violence and the others seem to follow along,” Harkins said.
Other cops who ride said that Brozczok betrayed his badge. The Blue Knights are a law enforcement motorcycle club.
“When you stop traffic on a major highway like that you know something’s really gonna get out of control,” Blue Knight, Peter Staruch said, “He’s just another criminal like the rest of them.”
Biscocho said that he would not have taken the situation to the same extreme.
“I probably would’ve just called the cops,” he said.
For some riders motorcycles mean recreation and enjoyment, for others it’s a culture. Police officers who consider riding may one day have to choose between honoring the badge or their vest.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that the NYPD does not have any plans to regulate which clubs police officers can join.
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