Moderator: Van Canna
Defending himself or his $100,000 SUV?
At least one witness has already come forward stating that the SUV aggressively entered the highway while other drivers were letting the motorcyclists pass by. The witness also stated that he continued to drive in the midst of the motorcyclists despite their efforts to slow him down. For someone concerned about his family (at least that's what his lawyers told him to say) he sure is putting them at risk of an altercation with one or more motorcyclists with his actions. Then he decides he is is entitled to use deadly force and run over someone with his back to him that was walking away because he is "frightened" that will seriously injure or kill him and his family. Maybe he's seen too many zombie movies. If 2 or 3 of the motorcyclists did not attack the SUV driver and his vehicle on 178th street he probably would have charged with attempted murder by now for running over someone with his back to him.
This well known Hollywood hot shot lawyer (Mark Geragos, lawyer for Michael Jackson and Trayvon and other high profile cases) was just on CNN with Anderson Cooper said:
Lien should have been arrested for hit and run.
The cyclist who stopped in front of Lien's SUV and looked back to the SUV was trying to signal Lien to slow down because Lien was driving too fast on the road, Lien ran into him instead.
The undercover cops were banging on Lien's SUV trying to arrest him for hit and run.
By Danny Cevallos, CNN Legal Analyst
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Fri October 4, 2013
How fine is the line between victim and defendant? Consider how the law might apply to these facts:
First, in the video, a motorcyclist appears to deliberately slow down in front of the SUV, which then collides with the cycle. The law in most states presumptively holds the rear ending vehicle liable. If the driver in front makes a sudden stop, that can overcome this presumption. But in the case of rear enders, even defense attorneys will often concede liability, so it's certainly possible that a jury could find Lien completely at fault for an accident.
Video shows motorcyclists fighting driver
Second, as bikers surround his vehicle, Lien speeds away. As he drives off, motorcyclist Jeremiah Mieses is run over in the chaos. Mieses remains hospitalized with two broken legs and spinal injuries and might be paralyzed for life. Those are very serious injuries under any civil standard or penal code.
If it's proven that Lien ran over Mieses, he could be considered a "fleeing felon." New York, like other states, criminalizes leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. In a case like this, in which someone is seriously injured, flight is a potential felony. So was Lien fleeing for his life, or was he a fleeing felon?
Third, it's true that a lot of bikers gave chase. Was this alone permissible? In New York, a citizen acting on his own may use non-deadly force to prevent the escape of a person who has committed a crime. Lien's tires were slashed and his windows bashed in. Was that appropriate force? Those acts themselves are non-deadly. If so, were the bikers apprehending a fleeing criminal within the law?
Finally, if any of the bikers charged claim they were justified in preventing the escape of a criminal, the burden is on the prosecution to disprove it and disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Police officers have the unenviable task of making snap judgments under chaotic circumstances. They're human, as is their process of assigning blame. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the investigation is continuing. More arrests on more serious charges may follow.
Motorcyclist Christopher Cruz faces reckless driving charges after police say he was the one who slowed down in front of Lien's SUV and touched off the whole bloody encounter. Nobody has been charged yet in the actual beating that sent Lien to the hospital, but Cruz's attorney has told reporters that his client is not guilty.
Asked whether Lien was within his legal rights to race away from the scene of his accident with Cruz, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said he might have been.
"It depends on whether or not your vehicle is being attacked, whether or not you think you’re being attacked, whether or not your wife and child are in the car. You have to look at the totality of the circumstances and that’s what we’re doing,” he said Tuesday.
"Obviously, if you can get out of there without hurting someone, that’s what we advise you to do," he added. "There’s no one-size-fits-all to a situation like this."
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