Prosecutors have indicted two NYPD officers on assault charges for allegedly beating Karim Baker, a U.S. Postal Service worker. Baker claims he faced harassment from cops after unwittingly giving directions to Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who shot and killed Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu last year.
Before Brinsley shot Ramos and Liu on the night of December 20, 2014, the killer approached Baker in Brooklyn and asked him for directions to the Marcy Houses, which were a short walk away. Not sensing that anything was amiss, Baker directed him. Police later questioned Baker about the interaction, and he said that Brinsley seemed like “Just a guy asking for directions,” he told the New York Daily News.
Baker’s attorney alleged in November that his client had been stopped by police 20 times since the questioning, and that his “strongly held theory” was that the cops were retaliating against him.
Today, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that Officers Angelo Pampena, a nine-year veteran of the force, and Robert Carbone, an eight-year veteran, will be charged with a variety of assault charges for allegedly punching and kicking Baker as he sat in a parked car in October 2015. Pampena will also be charged with perjury and filing a false instrument.
Baker, who had just finished his shift with the Postal Service, was still in uniform when Pampena and Carbone approached his car in Queens, according to the charges. “While Mr. Baker was seated in his vehicle, it is alleged that the two detectives punched and kicked him multiple times about his face and body and that they then dragged Mr. Baker from the vehicle and onto the sidewalk. It is alleged that the actions of the two detectives caused Mr. Baker to suffer serious physical injuries,” a statement from the DA reads.
“I was being kicked, choked, punched, on the floor, stomped on,” Baker previously told the News about the incident. “I had a foot on my neck and a foot on my head. Someone stomped my head on the concrete.”
Pampena faces additional charges for alleging in a sworn complaint that Baker was parked directly in front of a fire hydrant. Video evidence shows that Baker’s car was actually parked more than fifteen feet from the hydrant, according to the DA.
Pampena and Carbone each face up to seven years in prison if convicted.