NEW YORK (AP) — Two New York Police Department detectives are charged with assaulting a FedEx worker who they knew had given street directions to a stranger who went on to kill two policemen minutes later.
Detectives Angelo Pampena and Robert Carbone were arraigned Wednesday in Queens on assault charges. Pampena was also arraigned on charges of perjury, offering a false instrument for filing and official misconduct. Their attorneys didn't immediately comment.
Karim Baker had gotten into his car Oct. 21, 2015, when the detectives punched, kicked and dragged him onto the sidewalk, prosecutors said.
Pampena filed a sworn criminal complaint alleging Baker was parked in front of a fire hydrant. But video evidence shows the vehicle was parked more than 15 feet away from the hydrant, prosecutors said.
Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were killed on Dec. 20, 2014 — shot at point-blank range through their cruiser window by Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Brinsley, who killed himself with the same weapon, had posted on Instagram that he wanted to put "wings on pigs" and referenced Eric Garner, whose police chokehold death led to protests against the NYPD.
Baker, then working as a FedEx driver, had appeared on security footage giving Brinsley directions to a nearby housing project. The shooting happened on a street near the apartment complex a few minutes later.
"The entire conversation lasted about 10 seconds. Mr. Baker gave him directions and they parted their separate ways," his lawyer, Eric Subin, said in November.
After that, Baker was questioned and then "systematically harassed" by police — including officers lurking around him and his family and about 20 traffic stops in nine months, Subin said.
"I have no hate toward police officers at all," Baker said at the time. "That's who I call when I need help. I'm just hurt."
The two officers, who were previously assigned to an anti-gang unit, were released to await their next court appearance June 27.