NBC 4 New York
As the investigation into Sunday's SUV-versus-motorcycle attack continues, police are shifting their attention to two men who may have witnessed the beating. Tracie Strahan has more.
The biker suspected of smashing in an SUV's window and beating its driver has turned himself in to police, a law enforcement official says.
The 37-year-old suspect was captured on video using his silver-colored motorcycle helmet to break the driver's side window of a Range Rover he and other bikers chased on the West Side Highway before allegedly yanking the driver out of the car and assaulting him.
The suspect, who has at least 21 prior arrests, some for drugs and weapons possession and robbery, was being questioned by police Friday night, along with another biker who turned himself in earlier in the day.
Neither of them has yet been charged.
Meanwhile, the longtime girlfriend of the biker who was struck by the SUV during a confrontation that sparked the chase says he is a devoted family man.
Dayana Mejia cried during a press conference in New York City on Friday and said her partner, 32-year-old Edwin Mieses Jr., is an adoring father to the couple's two children.
Mejia says the people who participated in the motorcycle ride are "not thugs."
"It tears me up to think that anyone could think that in any way Edwin deserves what happened to him," she said.
Gloria Allred, Mieses' attorney, says he was trying to "calm people down" and "get everyone to move on and go back to riding" when the SUV hit him on Sunday.
"He was attempting to defuse the situation," she said. "He turned his back to the SUV to start walking back to his own bike. It was then, with his back to the SUV and he was in front of it, that he was run over and crushed."
Video shows the SUV surrounded by dozens of helmeted riders on the Henry Hudson Parkway. The driver, Alexian Lien, drove through the crowd and struck Mieses.
Lien's wife says he feared for his family's safety and was trying to flee.
Mieses remains hospitalized at St. Luke's with a broken spine, fractured ribs, a punctured lung and a torn aortic valve. Allred said doctors have indicated they do not know whether he'll walk again.
Mieses' father, Edwin Mieses Sr., said "emotions got the best of several people on Sunday, and when people react based on emotions, they often make poor choices."
"The driver of the SUV is eventually going to have to face what he did," said the elder Mieses, adding that he felt no anger toward Lien.
Lien and his wife were out on Sunday with their little girl to celebrate their wedding anniversary when a group of bikers swarmed his Range Rover on the parkway, forcing the vehicle almost to a halt, the family said. In fear of his life, Lien told investigators he plowed through the crowd of bikers, running over Mieses.
"We know in our hearts that we could not have done anything differently, and we believe that anyone faced with this sort of grave danger would have taken the same course of action in order to protect their family," the Lien family said in a statement released Thursday.
Lien told police in initial interviews that he first called 911 when he spotted a group of motorcylists driving erratically near the entrance to the Henry Hudson Parkway. As he continued onto the parkway and drove north, he bumped into the motorcycle of Christopher Cruz, who appears in the video to be slowing his bike in front of the SUV.
Lien said he stopped his vehicle and was swarmed by about 20 motorcycles, according to law enforcement officials. The bikers then started kicking his SUV, breaking his mirrors and stabbing his tires, he told police. Lien took off, hitting Mieses and sparking a chase by the motorcyclists.
Lien's wife called 911 four times after the collision and during the ensuing chase, according to law enforcement officials. The chase ended when the SUV pulled off the highway at 178th Street and a tire fell off, and that's when police say the suspect in the silver helmet pulled Lien from the car and beat him.
Lien, who has no prior arrests, was taken to the hospital for stitches. He hasn't been charged with any crime.
The records show that in June he was named a habitual offender and his right to drive in the state was revoked until 2017. It isn't clear if he had been licensed in any other state.
"What the status of his license is or was is, in our view, not relevant," Allred said Friday.
"The evidence shows he was standing when he was struck. He was not on a motorcycle, he was not in a car, he was not driving... It is not relevant as a matter of law as to his being a victim in this case."
Detectives have identified at least a dozen of the bikers who surrounded the SUV, including the man who recorded the video of the chase and beating that has since gone viral, according to officials. His Long Island home was searched Wednesday and the recovered equipment is now being analyzed.
Law enforcement officials said it appears the man intentionally stopped recording the moment Lien was pulled out of his car and beaten. The man told detectives that the battery on the GoPro camera died, but investigators doubt that claim because there is additional video footage on the camera that was taken some time after the alleged assault.
The bikers in the video who have been identified by police and are cooperating say that most of the riders did not know each other, and that they'd only met that day before riding together to the West Side Highway.
Among the bikers being investigated is an off-duty NYPD officer, according to law enforcement officials. He did not participate in the assault, the officials said, but he's believed to be part of the group that was near the Range Rover when Lien was beaten.
The officer came forward Wednesday, four days after the assault, according to sources. The district attorney is investigating whether he simply stood by and did not identify himself as an officer or maintained his anonymity as an undercover officer.
The motorcyclist seen on video yanking open the driver's door of the Range Rover during a brief pause in the chase also turned himself in to police Friday. Law enforcement officials say photos show that he later participated in the assault on Lien on 178th Street.
Also cooperating is another biker who suffered a broken leg after being hit by Lien's Range Rover.
Two bikers had been arrested since the ride on Sunday, but one has been released.
Allen Edwards, 42, of Queens — believed to be the man seen on video striking the Range Rover's rear driver's side window with his fists -- surrendered to police on Tuesday. But the Manhattan DA declined to prosecute, "pending further investigation of the entire incident," the office said Wednesday.
Sources said he has been cooperative and there is no indication he participated in the assault of Lien. He may have even tried to come to the victim's aid, sources said.
Police are also searching for two witnesses, pictured below, who saw Lien allegedly being assaulted.
The bikers in the video were participating in a periodic rally called Hollywood Stuntz in which more than 1,000 bikers head for Times Square, police have said. There were dozens of calls about reckless driving, 15 other arrests and 55 motorcycles confiscated.