An undercover NYPD detective was acquitted yesterday of the most serious charges but convicted of lesser crimes for his role in a highway melee in which motorcyclists pulled an SUV driver out his window and pummeled him in front of his wife and toddler. Detective Wojciech Braszczok and his co-defendant, Robert Sims, had said they believed the driver was fleeing the scene of a crime because he had just struck a biker amid the September 2013 rally. A judge found them not guilty of the top charges of gang assault and first-degree assault, but guilty of crimes that include second-degree assault, coercion, and riot. Braszczok, who lied about his involvement to his superiors, was suspended and is due to be fired. He was sentenced to up to seven years but will probably receive a lesser term.
The trial exposed the double life of Braszczok, a former narcotics agent who had infiltrated the Occupy Wall Street movement under the name "Al Malokovitch." His handler, known in court only as Undercover 7047, testified that Braszczok was required to check in at the beginning and end of his shift. And if he witnessed a crime, he had a duty to report it and to get involved if necessary, even if it meant identifying himself as a detective. "We all have a duty to take action," the handler testified. On his day off, Braszczok decided to join in the Manhattan highway motorcycle ride, which had nothing to do with Occupy. He texted his handler that it was going to be "mayhem."