Last December, when Karim Baker was stopped in Brooklyn, N.Y., by a man who appeared to be a random passerby asking for directions to a housing project in the New York City borough’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Baker had no idea that he was giving directions to the man who would shortly thereafter kill two police officers in cold blood, the New York Daily News reports.
Now the former FedEx driver says that since that fateful day, he has been subjected to harassment by officers at the New York City Police Department, culminating in a brutal beating and an arrest by a group of cops Oct. 21 because of, he says, his inadvertent assistance to the killer of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramo. According to the report, Baker says he had previously been stopped by the police 20 times, although never ticketed, for alleged traffic infractions.
“I have nothing in my heart against law enforcement at all,” Baker, the son of a former correction officer, told the Daily News. “I have no hatred at all toward law enforcement.”
The NYPD acknowledged last month that it is looking into Baker’s arrest, after which he was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens with a busted lip. Officers deny harassing him, however.
Baker’s lawyer, Eric Subin, thinks it’s convenient that the NYPD does not document traffic stops for which motorists are not arrested or issued summons.
“Twenty times in a year is a lot of times to be pulled over and never issued a summons,” the lawyer said. “This is our strongly held theory. It’s too much of a bizarre coincidence not to hold water.”
The fed-up Baker intends to file a notice of claim Tuesday in Queens Supreme Court, according to the Daily News.
It all began, he said, around 2:13 p.m. Dec. 20, when he bumped into Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who asked for directions to the massive Marcy Houses projects.
“He never met him before,” Subin told the Daily News. “Never seen him before, and he innocuously said, ‘Can I get directions to the Marcy Houses?’
“They wanted to know what the conversation was about that I had with the guy,” Baker said. “They wanted to know about what they saw on the video. ‘What did he say?’ ‘What did he look like?’”
Baker maintained that Brinsley didn’t act weird in any way. “Just a guy asking for directions,” he said.
He thought that would be the end of the matter, but it wasn’t.
“They pull him over, they’ll come up to his car, look at him, take his ID, go back to their car, give him his ID back, say, ‘Get the hell out of here,’” Subin recounted. “Every single time.”
Finally, last month, things escalated after he was stopped in Queens. Baker was charged with resisting arrest, criminal possession of a controlled substance, obstructing cops and parking within 15 feet of a hydrant, the Daily News notes. Baker is accused of refusing to show his ID, smelling of marijuana and resisting by “flailing his arms and wrestling” with officers, according to court records.
Baker denies having drugs and said he was parked legally when he was beaten up by police, who approached him in an unmarked car, the Daily News reports.
Read more at the New York Daily News.