A postal worker who has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the NYPD said Thursday that he was harassed by officers for nearly a year before two detectives beat him for speaking to a man who later killed two police officers.
"Month after month," said Karim Baker of the harassment, while describing the encounters for NBC 4 New York.
Detectives Angelo Pampena, 31, and Robert Carbone, 29, were arraigned Wednesday on charges filed by the Queens District attorney accusing them of beating Baker six months ago in the Corona neighborhood of Queens.
The detectives allegedly dragged Baker out of his parked car and repeatedly punched and kicked him, according to a five-count indictment detailing the charges, including second- and third-degree assault for both the officers.
Baker filed his own $100 million lawsuit Monday against the city, the police department, the two detectives and other unnamed officers.
The NYPD insists there was no harassment.
Baker appeared on surveillance video giving directions to Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot and killed officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos on Dec. 20, 2014.
Brinsley shot the officers at point-blank range through their cruiser window. He then killed himself with the same weapon.
"I just gave the man directions. Nothing else to it," Baker said Thursday.
After being seen in the video, he and his family were harassed by police officers "month after month," Baker said.
The harassment culminated in the beating he received after just finishing his shift one day in later October.
He suffered serious injuries from the assault, the indictment states.
"Only thing I could feel was just feeling like I was about to take my last breath," he recalled Thursday. "The more officers that came the more I got beat on."
In the 2014 encounter with Brinsley, Baker gave him directions to two housing projects. It's not clear how much time elapsed between the interaction and the slayings.
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, said attorney Eric Subin, who represents Baker.
After the encounter, Pampena filed a sworn statement saying Baker was parked in front of a fire hydrant. However, video from a surveillance camera showed that Baker's car was more than 15 feet from the hydrant.
The criminal case against Baker was dismissed. Pampena has subsequently been charged with perjury.
Senior police officials say there is no merit to Baker's claim that he was targeted. Police sources said the two detectives had no idea who Baker was.
Attempts to reach both detectives for comment were unsuccessful.