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When does our right to flee danger trump the safety of others?

Screenshot of the motorcyclist right before it hits the SUV
Screenshot of the motorcyclist right before it hits the SUV

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Police are still trying to identify some of the 30 bikers believed to have been involved in a road rage incident in New York on Sunday. A viral video filmed from one of the biker’s helmet camera shows much of the event.

The 30 motorcyclists were said to have been taking part in an unauthorized rally known as "Hollywood Stuntz" on a New York highway when the confrontation began. Alexian Lein was driving his SUV with his wife and 2-year-old daughter when one biker, later identified as 28-year-old Christopher Cruz, slowed down after merging in front of Lein’s car.

Lein clipped Cruz’s motorcycle, leading the entire biker crew to stop, many of them surrounding his vehicle. In an attempt to escape the scene, Lein drove away, subsequently running over one of the bikers, identified as 32-year-old Edwin Mieses Jr., who suffered injuries that may leave him paralyzed.

The motorcyclists continued to follow Lein, eventually catching up with him, pulling him out of his car and beating him. Lein suffered minor injuries.

Were Lein’s actions justified under the circumstances or did he have other options? Should he be punished for running over the biker? What should the consequences be for the bikers involved?

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Adam Winker, Professor at UCLA School of Law

Jonathan Kelman, criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles