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Ruled competent to proceed, man accused of threatening to ‘air out’ polling place pleads not guilty

Brandon Baker

MILWAUKEE — A 20-year-old Milwaukee man prosecutors said threatened to “air out” a polling place on Election Day in November of 2018 appeared in court for his preliminary hearing on Thursday, Feb. 21 — after he was ruled competent to proceed in the case against him.

Brandon Baker was in court for a competency hearing on Jan. 11, when it was determined he was not competent to proceed. At that point, he was ordered committed to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in an effort to restore competency, and the case was suspended.

On Feb. 15, Baker was back in court, and a doctor’s report was reviewed related to his competency. It was determined he was competent to proceed, and an initial court appearance commenced. Probable cause was found for further proceedings, and Baker pleaded not guilty to four of the seven charges filed against him.

During his preliminary hearing on Feb. 21, a Milwaukee Police Department detective testified, and a motion to dismiss the case from the defense was denied. Probable cause was found for further proceedings, and Baker was bound over for trial. He entered a not guilty plea, and a scheduling conference was set for Feb. 27.

Seven charges were filed against Baker in November:

  • Second degree recklessly endangering safety
  • Carrying a concealed weapon (three counts)
  • Maintaining a drug trafficking place
  • Possession with intent to deliver THC (less than 200 grams)
  • Possession of amphetamine/LSD/psilocin

In the early hours of Nov. 6, 2018, police were called to 29th and Michigan for reports of multiple shots fired.

Video from the scene showed Officer April Rivera began to speak with Baker.

“What is that in your hand sir?” Officer Rivera asked.

“An AR-15,” Baker replied. “I’m not breaking the law. I am running for governor.”

“OK. Keep it up in the air, please,” said Officer Rivera.

She called for backup as Baker, in the video, ranted about running for governor. The officer saw another handgun in his waistband.

“Everyone can have a gun. Militia! That’s what we need to do. We need to organize a militia,” said Baker.

After figuring out his name, Officer Rivera worked to calm him.

“What did you want to talk to us about sir? You have been very respectful and I do appreciate you keeping your hands up where I can see them,” said Officer Rivera.

Baker was honest about the weapons he had.

“So you have three firearms on you?” Officer Rivera asked.

“No. I have four,” Baker responded.

“You said vote for Brandon Daniel Baker?” Officer Rivera asked.

Baker was then distracted enough for a police sergeant to take him to the ground.

“I want you to be your boss’ boss. Please vote for me. That’s all I want to do is help people. I just don’t want to get murdered,” said Baker.

Dozens of casings were found on the roof of the building, and police recovered four weapons and multiple magazines. Police said Baker claimed he was “going to the poll and air it out.” He also told police he shot from the roof for publicity on Twitter.

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