SUV gang assault: NYC biker says he didn't mean to make SUV stop
NEW YORK (KABC) -- The motorcyclist accused of starting the violent New York attack by slowing down in front of the SUV says he didn't mean to start a fight.
Christopher Cruz spoke to ABC News reporter Dan Harris on Monday's episode of "Good Morning America." The 28-year-old said he does not feel responsible for the bloody attack.
"I never had intentions to slow him down or cause any type of problems," Cruz told Harris in his first sit-down interview. "I don't think I feel responsible."
In the now-notorious video of the September incident, Cruz is seen cutting off a black Range Rover driven by Alexian Lien on the West Side Highway in Manhattan. The footage shows Cruz slowing his motorcycle in front of Lien's SUV, as Lien, his wife and 2-year-old were heading to a wedding anniversary celebration around 2 p.m. Sept. 29.
Before he cut in front of the SUV, Cruz appears to be exchanging glances with Lien.
"I was trying to get his attention to make sure he sees me before I pulled in front of him," Cruz explained. "He never looked back at me."
The video then shows Cruz crossing into the middle lane, looking back over both shoulders and slowing down, resulting in the collision with Lien's SUV.
"[It was] never my intention to make him stop," Cruz said. "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong with just turning into another lane. The other bikes are going as slow as I am."
He said he was looking over his shoulders to see where his friends were, so he could follow behind them.
"I didn't brake but when I looked over my shoulder, my hand came off the throttle a little, but the driver didn't slow down at all and bumped me," said Cruz, adding that both he and Lien stopped after the incident. Cruz said he approached Lien for an explanation.
"He looked straight ahead and never made eye contact with me," Cruz said. "So I just went back to my bike and when I was getting on he took off."
Lien's wife, Rosalyn Ng, said that her husband feared for their lives when he decided to take off to get away from the group of helmeted motorcyclists. As he drove off, Lien hit some of the bikers, critically injuring one, according to authorities.
Motorcyclists followed Lien, who eventually exited the freeway and got stuck in traffic. A group of bikers then bashed in his windows, pulled him out of the car and beat him. Authorities say Lien required stitches on his face for injuries sustained in the attack. He has not been charged with any crime.
Two off-duty New York police officers were riding with the biker group. The NYPD is investigating why the officers did not intervene.
Cruz has been charged with reckless endangerment and unlawful imprisonment for his role in the incident. The charges could mean one year in prison.
Two other men have been charged in the attack.
Robert Sims, 35, who allegedly grabbed the SUV's door about five minutes into the video, surrendered to police Friday, NYPD officials said. He faces charges of gang assault, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, according to police.
Reginald Chance, 38, also surrendered to police Friday. He allegedly was the man seen in the video using his helmet to smash the SUV's side window before the video cut off and the alleged assault took place. Chance was in court on Sunday, and he raised both of his middle fingers to news cameras and others as he was arraigned.
Cruz told ABC News that he does not know Chance or Sims, who were charged with attacking Lien. Cruz said he was not involved in the chase. His attorney says he believes Cruz was arrested because of all the media attention surrounding the incident.
"I think that they needed to make an arrest to satisfy the public," the attorney, H. Benjamin Perez, told ABC News. "He didn't brake. The video shows that," Perez said. "He was not trying to entrap Mr. Lien and go up against an almost four-ton vehicle while he was on two wheels."
ABC News contributed to this report.
caught on tape, new york, national news
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