Mimesis Law
22 August 2019

NYPD Caught Lying After Beating Mailman

Apr. 25, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — The penalty for giving directions to a random stranger in New York turned out to be a severe beating by New York’s Finest. Two detectives are under indictment after kicking, beating and dragging Karim Baker, a mail carrier,* an incident caught on nearby video.

In late 2014, Baker told Ismaaiyl Brinsley how to get to the Marcy Houses, a housing project made famous by rapper Jay-Z. Brinsley then ambushed two N.Y.P.D. officers working near Marcy Houses in Brooklyn before killing himself. Brinsley was seen on surveillance video talking to Baker. Baker cooperated with law enforcement and recounted the brief encounter. Since then, Baker says he has been scrutinized and harassed by New York law enforcement.

Interestingly, it was video that brought Baker to the attention of law enforcement. Now, video again plays a role in clearing Baker of wrongdoing while implicating the detectives.

In October, 2015, Baker was accused of parking too close to a fire hydrant. During that encounter, Baker was beaten by the detectives, who later accused Baker of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. The incident resulted in spinal fractures and a knee injury that have kept Baker from returning to work.

Fortunately for Baker, he called 911 during the encounter, though he dropped the phone when the officers attacked him. It was that call that was paired with surveillance video from a building across the street that ultimately cleared Baker and left the detectives to defend their false allegations for the abuse and its attempted cover it up.

The detectives — Angelo J. Pampena, 31, and Robert A. Carbone, 29 — were charged with felony and misdemeanor assault in an indictment announced on Wednesday by the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, and the police commissioner, William J. Bratton. Detective Pampena, a nine-year veteran, was also charged with perjury, offering a false instrument and official misconduct.

The district attorney said Mr. Baker was seated in his car when the detectives punched and kicked him multiple times in the face and body and dragged him from the vehicle.

Pampena filed a sworn complaint alleging Baker parked in front of a fire hydrant. However, video shows detectives starting the confrontation, dragging Baker from his car amidst their assault, and that Baker’s case was more than 15 feet from the fire hydrant – the initial reason given for the encounter.

So why would Pampena lie? Why would any officer lie?

Officers lie for a variety of reasons. Maybe to justify their conduct. Maybe to get the bad guy. And, sometimes they lie just because they can.

The first reason is because they get away with it. They know that in a swearing match between a drug defendant and a police officer, the judge always rules in favor of the officer. Often in search hearings, it is embarrassingly clear to everyone – judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, even spectators – that the officer is lying under oath. Yet nothing is done about it. There are rare cases in which the nature of the testimony and the physical evidence make it absolutely impossible to credit an officer’s version and the judge must rule the search illegal. When this happens, the judge rules hesitatingly and grudgingly for the defense. Indeed, judges sometimes apologize to the officer for tossing out illegally seized evidence where the cop has just committed felony perjury in the judge’s presence.

Not only do judges rule in favor of the officer, but Michelle Alexander, a lawyer and civil rights activist, identified another reason, financial incentive. She points out:

Thousands of people plead guilty to crimes every year in the United States because they know that the odds of a jury’s believing their word over a police officer’s are slim to none. As a juror, whom are you likely to believe: the alleged criminal in an orange jumpsuit or two well-groomed police officers in uniforms who just swore to God they’re telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? As one of my colleagues recently put it, “Everyone knows you have to be crazy to accuse the police of lying.”

Additionally, there’s the age-old defense theory that to justify the beating, cops must file some criminal charge against the beaten to discredit him. This theory is often referred to as contempt of cop. (a.k.a ‘pissing off the police’ or ‘you might beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.’)

Contempt of cop occurs when an officer punishes you for failing to comply with her request.

Sometimes the punishment takes the form of being charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest or a similarly amorphous crime simply for verbally standing up for your rights. Sometimes it takes the form of physical force.

Baker certainly did something to piss off the police. Either he asserted his rights there on the street or he innocently gave directions to Brinsley, who turned out to be a cop killer. Either way, his life has never been the same. We should all be thankful his video surfaced.

There have been a series of videos that have turned the tables back on cop lies, like the two New Jersey officers convicted of tampering and other misconduct after a video cleared Marcus Jeter of eluding, resisting arrest, aggravated assault and attempting to disarm a police officer, the Manhattan cop charged with lying about an Upper Manhattan arrest and bogusly claiming he was threatened by a 20-year-old woman, and the notorious Texas trooper charged with perjury after falsely claiming Sandra Bland assaulted him. And yet, cops continue to lie in the expectation that no one will be able to disprove their claims, even though they ought to realize that there is a chance their lie will be caught on video.

Though officers may lie, video generally doesn’t. And, now after decades of everyone believing the police, the public is getting an insider’s glance into the lies told by law enforcement officers who cheat the system to justify their behaviors, convict, or even achieve retribution.

*While Baker is described as a postal worker by the New York Times, the Daily News and ABC/AP state that he was a Fed Ex driver.

12 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

*

*

Comments for Fault Lines posts are closed here. You can leave comments for this post at the new site, faultlines.us

  • MoButterMoBetta
    25 April 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    “As a juror, whom are you likely to believe: the alleged criminal in an orange jumpsuit or two well-groomed police officers in uniforms who just swore to God they’re telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but?”

    When I was called for jury duty last year I was ready to believe the alleged criminal, but got stuck with a civil case instead.

    More and more regular people are becoming aware of testilying / police perjury as the videos reach an audience beyond CDLs and activists.

    • Scott Jacobs
      25 April 2016 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      I suspect the people here are outliers in that regard…

      • JoAnne Musick
        25 April 2016 at 5:26 pm - Reply

        But more outliers are being created every day as injustices are exposed.

        (I’ll get the hang of this nifty “reply” feature yet!)

    • JoAnne Musick
      25 April 2016 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      So very true. Thankfully police misconduct is coming to light and allowing jurors to better evaluate cop testimony. It has taken some time but it’s changing.

      (working on learning how to “reply”)

  • JoAnne Musick
    25 April 2016 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    So very true. Thankfully police misconduct is coming to light and allowing jurors to better evaluate cop testimony. It has taken some time but it’s changing.

  • JoAnne Musick
    25 April 2016 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    But more outliers are being created every day as injustices are exposed

    • shg
      25 April 2016 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      Was this a reply to someone else’s comment? Asking for a friend.

      • JoAnne Musick
        25 April 2016 at 5:25 pm - Reply

        dang it – i’ll get the hang of this! Yes, I would have sworn I hit “reply” to Scott Jacobs – fixing that now!

        • shg
          25 April 2016 at 5:37 pm - Reply

          I think you’ve got it.

  • FAULT LINES FRIDAY FAIL
    29 April 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    […] Park too close to a fire hydrant? That’s a beating. […]

  • Isiah James, Not Handicapped Enough For Sgt. Garry Wilson
    5 May 2016 at 8:28 am - Reply

    […] citizen who found himself charged or abused. But, that was before the beloved cellphone and video took hold across […]

  • That’s So NYPD: Just Give the Cop Your Motherfuck*ng Phone
    8 June 2016 at 8:58 am - Reply

    […] except when it comes to respect for the rule of law and New Yorkers’ constitutional rights, not succumbing to fear, knowing how to handle firearms or using appropriate levels of force. In […]