The New York biker attack – 'an ominous broad-daylight instance of lawlessness,' said one commentator – contributed to a public sense of vulnerability and put pressure on prosecutors.
New York Police Department/AP
The gripping helmet-cam video depicting bikers chasing down a suburban family in an SUV is like a “Mad Max” flashback: ruthlessness mixed with glee, and an apparent embrace of lawlessness by even an undercover police officer who, according to prosecutors, joined in to “terrorize” a motorist and his family, including a two-year-old child.
Some commentators have linked the daring group attack on the family in the SUV – it took place Sept. 29th on the Upper West Side – to a broader “mood of civic abandonment” in the country, “an ominous broad-daylight instance of lawlessness, of the kind that can become symbolic of an era,” as Nick Paumgarten writes this week in the New Yorker.
Manhattan prosecutors, meanwhile, surprised some observers by leveling more-serious-than-expected felony charges against at least six of the bikers, including an undercover NYPD police detective, Wojciech Braszczok, who turned himself in late Tuesday after a video showed him pounding on the rear of the SUV.
Mr. Braszczok was stripped of his badge before being charged Wednesday with first-degree gang assault, first-degree assault, and third-degree criminal mischief for “terrorizing” the family, even though the video of the attack does not show him laying hands on anyone.