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Feds to drop charges against NYPD cop accused of spying for China

Five NYPD officers fatally shot Khiel Coppin, 18, on Nov. 12, 2007, outside his home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn in a shooting that sparked rallies and outrage from criminal justice advocates. (Dreamstime/TNS)
January 19, 2023

Federal prosecutors in New York have requested that a judge dismiss charges against a New York Police Department officer and Army reservist who had been charged with being a Chinese agent.

NYPD officer Baimadajie Angwang, 33, had been accused of acting at the “direction and control” of Chinese government officials at the New York consulate in reporting the activities of Tibetans. He was also accused of wire fraud, false statements and obstructing an official proceeding.

“As a result of our continued investigation, the government obtained additional information bearing on the charges,” prosecutors from the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice headquarters said in a court filing Friday, according to the Associated Press.

The prosecutors said they “assessed the evidence as a whole in light of that information” and concluded they wanted to drop the case “in the interests of justice.”

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The Justice Department announced charges against the NYPD officer in September 2020.

“The defendant allegedly violated his sworn oath to serve the New York City community and defend the Constitution against all enemies by reporting to PRC government officials about the activities of Chinese citizens in the New York area and developing intelligence sources within the Tibetan community in the United States,” stated Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, remains vigilant in rooting out any attempts at foreign influence through criminal activity taken on behalf of a foreign power in whatever form they may take,” DuCharme added in the announcement from the Justice Department.

The charges were based in part on recorded phone calls between Angwang and officials that prosecutors claimed were intended to report on the activities of Tibetans in New York.

Angwang is an ethnic Tibetan who sought asylum in the U.S. and became an American citizen after being arrested and tortured in China due to his ethnicity. His lawyer offered a statement expressing his gratitude over the new decision.

“Officer Angwang was always confident that this day would come, though he and has family have suffered immeasurably for almost three years,” defense attorney John F. Carman said. “People should know that while he is an ethnic Tibetan, Mr. Angwang is first and foremost a loyal American who served honorably with the Marines and did nothing whatsoever to betray his country.”