New York City cop charged in motorcycle melee gets passport back

April 24, 2014 6:37:44 PM PDT
A New York City police officer, charged in the motorcycle road rage melee on the West Side Highway, is getting his passport back.

Thursday a judge ruled Wojciech Braszczok can leave the United States to visit his family in Poland in May.

He must be back for his next court date on May 20th.

Police say Braszczok was off-duty during the melee last year that ended with a driver badly beaten. He's charged with gang assault.

Braszczok has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers have said that he never came close to the SUV driver and that the video footage will exonerate him.

The tension began when an SUV carrying a family on a Sunday drive crossed paths with a motorcycle rally - with at least one rider capturing events on a helmet-mounted camera and later posting video online.

Police say a motorcycle slowed in front of the Range Rover, which then bumped the bike. Motorcyclists dismounted and converged on the SUV. Lien has said he feared for himself, his wife and their toddler. He hit the gas to get away, running over and seriously injuring motorcyclist Edwin Mieses Jr., of Lawrence, Mass.

The other bikers chased after Lien, dragged him from his car on a side street and beat him, some bashing him with their motorcycle helmets, authorities said. He needed stitches to his face.

The off-duty Braszczok wasn't accused of hitting Lien. But prosecutors have said he shattered the SUV's back window and did nothing to end the assault or get help. The 10-year police veteran told authorities and his union that he didn't intervene partly because he works undercover.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)