ALBANY — A former state assemblyman from Brooklyn who is now an aide to Gov. Cuomo spent a night behind bars last month after a late-night arrest in Buffalo's party district, the Daily News has learned.
Karim Camara, a pastor who heads Cuomo's new Office of Faith-Based Development Services, was arrested at 1:35 a.m. July 11 and charged with misdemeanor trespassing and a disorderly conduct violation after police said he became belligerent at Jim's Steakout sub shop.
Though the charges were ultimately dropped, Camara, who shop staff say was heavily intoxicated at the time, was forced to spend the night in a police holding cell.
Camara, who was previously arrested in 2007 on drunken driving charges, was hired in April by Cuomo for the newly created $150,000-a-year position after spending nearly a decade in the Legislature. He was in Buffalo to meet with religious leaders on state business, sources said.
Camara got aggressive with staff:
Camara had finished eating when he began "making threats to the staff," according to the Buffalo Police arrest report.
“Give me my food,” Camara demanded even though he had already eaten his sandwich and was holding the empty bag, the report says.
The staff asked him to leave, but he refused.
"The defendant was causing the staff and other patrons to be alarmed and annoyed," the report states.
Police intervened, telling Camara he had to go. "I don't have to leave, you can't tell me to leave," he responded, according to the arrest report.
When a cop persisted, Camara shot back: "I know my rights. You don't have the authority."
He was then arrested and placed in a cell until his arraignment later that day.
The store chose not to press charges because no one was physically assaulted, according to the Jim’s Steakout manager.
The case was ultimately dismissed by the court on July 21 and the record sealed.
Gee, funny that the store chose not to press charges.
Wonder if that had anything to do with the Camara's position in the Cuomo administration?
Camara told the DN no big deal:
"This was a regretful, unfortunate and — as demonstrated by the fact that everything was dismissed — overblown situation," said Camara. "I'm glad it's behind me."
Considering it's his second alcohol-related arrest, I'd say it's not 'overblown."
Rather I'd say it's an incident that demonstrates a pattern of bad and/or criminal behavior while intoxicated on Camara's part.
Here's how the first arrest went:
ALBANY – A Brooklyn state assemblyman was busted early yesterday in Albany on a DWI charge after police say they saw his car weaving and traveling at more than twice the speed limit.
In addition to being a state lawmaker, Karim Camara, 35, is also the executive director of the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights.
Police said Camara, a Democrat elected to the Assembly in November 2005, was driving a gray 2005 Honda 65 mph in a 30 mph zone and weaving when they stopped him at 1:45 a.m.
According to the police report, his speech was slurred, his eyes were glassy and bloodshot, there was a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath.”
After failing several sobriety tests, Camara refused a Breathalyzer test, cops said.
The assemblyman appeared later yesterday morning in Albany City Court and was released on his own recognizance. He did not return a call for comment.
Will Cuomo subject Camara to a "moral character review"? @perdidostschool @CuomoWatch https://t.co/ip1K69JnrX— Sullio (@sullio) August 30, 2015
Indeed, it seems to me that Camara ought to be subject to a moral character review given the previous DWI and now the night he spent in the drunk tank.
Camara is a big supporter of charter schools, btw - you can see stories on that here, here and here.
Given the "no excuses" policies Camara's pals at the charters pursue, it's nice to see the boozy Camara wave off the night in the drunk tank, his second alcohol-related arrest, as "overblown."
Where I'm from, two alcohol-related arrests suggests, you know, an alcohol problem.
Where Camara's from, it's no big deal.