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Undercover NYPD Detective On Trial In Biker Melee Case Takes The Stand

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- An off-duty undercover New York City police detective accused of taking part in a gang assault on an SUV driver says he didn't intervene because he feared for his safety.

Detective Wojciech Braszczok, who is charged with assault in the September 2013 attack on SUV driver Alexian Lien, testified in his own defense Tuesday.

As CBS2's Lou Young reported, the suspended undercover detective hid his face in the hallway outside court. But on the witness stand, Braszczok, 44, admitted that he is facing termination from the force for his alleged actions with a pack of motorcycle riders in September 2013, CBS2's Valerie Castro reported.

The trial is a bench trial and thus, a judge, not a jury, is hearing the case.

Undercover NYPD Detective In Biker Melee Case Takes The Stand

Lien, with his wife and daughter inside the vehicle, had fled the West Side Highway in his Range Rover after being surrounded by angry motorcyclists, running over one biker in the process, leaving him paralyzed. Lien was later pulled from his Range Rover and beaten.

Lien was not charged.

Braszczok is charged with taking part in the melee, breaking a rear window near where Lien's child sat in her car seat and then standing by and doing nothing to help as the driver was beaten bloody.

Braszczok testified that he joined the wild pursuit of the sport-utility vehicle after seeing the vehicle hit two bikers and just keep going.

But once the SUV was stopped and surrounded by bikers, Braszczok said he did break a window and kick the car, but he had no idea what was transpiring on the other side, where Lien was being kicked and beaten.

The cop can be seen in a video shattering the rear window of the sport-utility vehicle and kicking it, CBS2's Tony Aiello had reported.

Watch The Full Video Below: WARNING — GRAPHIC IMAGES

Range Rover VS Biker Gang - NYC Road Rage (FULL VIDEO HD) by MegaHDGoals on YouTube

Braszczok said his actions in the melee were out of fear. He was allegedly caught on video smashing the rear window of a sport-utility vehicle with his helmet and kicking it afterward.

After chasing down Lien's SUV with the other bikers, Braszczok said he had thought the people inside it were the aggressors. He also said he had thought someone had lashed out at him from behind the smoked glass.

"I hear a 'pop' and I turn… something came out. I didn't know what it was," Braszczok said on the witness stand. "I was trying to stop the guy from leaving. I felt threatened, and I reacted the way I reacted."

Braszczok said he first rolled up on the Range Rover as it was already stopped and surrounded.

He claimed he never saw threatening gestures or actions from the other bikers, but he did see the SUV suddenly lurching away – running over a biker in the process.

Braszczok said he first rolled up on the Range Rover as it was already stopped and surrounded on the West Side Highway.

He claimed he never saw threatening gestures or actions from the other bikers, but he did see the SUV suddenly lurching away – running over a biker in the process.

The undercover detective was not on duty at the time, and had no ID, gun or badge with him. But he said he chased the SUV out of duty.

"I wanted to stop the car from running over more people," he said. "That's it."

The SUV stopped again on the exit ramp, and then bolted again as someone tried to open the door. The final confrontation came at West 178th Street.

As for the mob that pulled Lien from the vehicle and beat him, Braszczok said he was getting ready to leave by then.

"When I sit on my bike and I look, I am appalled," he said. "I couldn't believe the situation escalated that quick."

Explaining why as a police officer, he did not stop a crime in progress, Braszczok said, "I wish I would've done more to help him, but I felt I was in danger."

The detective denied hearing any screams. He said he did not intend to harm the driver and fled.

As he put it, "I felt the situation was unsafe, so I drove off."

Braszczok admits he then lied to his undercover handler, denying that he had seen anything.

"I knew I'd be in deep trouble," he said.

Braszczok said he was riding in the rally as part of a motorcycle Club called Front Line Soldiers, made up of current and former members of the NYPD.

At the time of the attack, Braszczok was assigned to infiltrate Occupy Wall Street to give police information on the protest movement.

Braszczok is on trial for alleged gang assault, along with Robert Sims, who prosecutors say was caught on video in the act of stomping on Lien.

Eleven men were indicted after the incident. The others have pleaded guilty to charges that include assault and riot. One of the bikers was sentenced last month to a year in prison.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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