Contractor convicted of criminally-negligent manslaughter after 5-year-old killed by crumbling wall

brooklyn supreme court contractor bushwick wall collapse
A Long Island contractor was convicted of criminally-negligent homicide and more in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Tuesday.
File photo courtesy of Ajay Suresh/Wikimedia Commons

The owner of a Nassau County construction company was convicted of criminally negligent homicide on Tuesday, nearly five years after a wall built by his company crumbled and killed a 5-year-old girl in Bushwick. 

Nadeem Anwar, the 48-year-old owner of Long Island-based City Wide Construction and Renovations, Inc., committed “numerous violations of New York City Building Code” when he constructed the stone wall at 444 Harman St., according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. As he was not authorized to file for construction permits with the city’s Department of Buildings, Anwar had another contractor file on his behalf, investigators found — but only for the façade work. 

wall outside bushwick home
444 Harman St. in July 2019, before the wall collapse. Photo courtesy of Google Maps

After the wall collapsed in the summer of 2019, a DOB engineer found that it was not build to code — there were no steel bars in any of the pillars, and the wall was “held together mostly by its own weight and gravity” and was described as “imminently perilous to life.” Investigators also said Anwar had not had the wall inspected by an engineer or architect after it was done, as is required by law.

On Aug. 29, 2019, 5-year-old Alysson Pinto-Chaumana was visiting friends at 444 Harman St. with her mother and several other people. As they waited inside an enclosed patio beside the granite wall Anwar had constructed, part of the wall collapsed suddenly – crushing Pinto-Chaumana’s skill and ultimately killing her. Anwar was arrested and arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court in the spring of 2022.

“The death of Alysson Pinto-Chaumana was completely preventable,” said DOB commissioner Jimmy Oddo, in a statement. “Simply put, if this contractor had obtained permits for the work to build this railing, and adhered to our city’s construction code regulations, this young girl would still be alive today.”

girl killed by wall collapse
5-year-old Alysson Pinto-Chaumana was killed by the falling wall. Brooklyn Paper file photo

On May 14, Anwar was convicted of criminally negligent homicide, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and second-degree falsifying business records, per the DA’s office. He is set to be sentenced on Aug. 14, 2024, and could face up to four years in prison.

“This is a heartbreaking instance where a young child was needlessly and senselessly taken from her family because this defendant chose to ignore safety protocols by violating numerous provisions of New York City’s building code, building a heavy stone fence and failing to secure it,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Hopefully, today’s verdict will send a message that dangerous and sloppy work by contractors will have serious consequences.”