The Manhattan district attorney's office said it would not begin prosecuting one of two suspects arrested after confrontations between a group of motorcyclists and the driver of an SUV on the West Side of Manhattan on Sunday.
It also signalled its displeasure with the Police Department over the case, which involved Chinese American banker Alexian Lien, who was severely beaten by some of the bikers.
The decision not to prosecute Allen Edwards came after police detained him on charges of reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and menacing. The prosecutors' move suggests that Edwards could be facing more serious charges.
Edwards turned himself in at a precinct Tuesday. Police said he could be seen at the end of a widely circulated video of the altercation slamming his fists into the door of Lien's Range Rover shortly before the driver was dragged out and beaten. Lien's wife and toddler daughter were in the car at the time.
Karen Friedman-Agnifiloone, the chief of the trial division of the district attorney's office, suggested that the arrest had been hasty and potentially jeopardised a larger case against the men involved.
"Prematurely charging individuals with low-level crimes does not further the goals of the investigation and could weaken the cases we expect to bring against the perpetrators of serious crimes," she said.
John McCarthy, the Police Department's top spokesman, said, "Obviously, detectives, based on the video alone, believed there was enough to make an arrest" in the case of Edwards.
Prosecutors agreed with that reasoning in the case of Christopher Cruz, 28, who was arrested on Tuesday. Cruz could be seen "slowing his motorcycle down while looking behind him" in the direction of the Range Rover. That action, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint, "restrained" those inside the vehicle.