This past Sunday, actor Alec Baldwin was involved in a highly publicized physical confrontation with a NY Post photographer. Baldwin told us in a lengthy interview that the photographer purposefully banged into him outside his East Village apartment, while the photographer (and a Post reporter) claim Baldwin used a racial epithet. Police have opened up a hate crime investigation into the matter. So far, it's been a battle of he said/he said in the press—but today we spoke to a man who seems to be the only witness to the altercation. Jamie, who asked that his last name be withheld to avoid unwanted publicity, told us he wrote a letter to Baldwin after seeing the NY Post's story the next day: "I just remember thinking to myself, 'this is ridiculous,'" he told us. "When I read the article, they were trying to interview him about something that happened to his wife—it has no bearing on him whatsoever, and you’re spending all this time harassing this guy for something he isn’t even involved with. It’s maddening."

Jamie, who also lives in the East Village, said he had never met Baldwin before this encounter on February 17th. He said he was walking home with his young son in a stroller when he heard someone say, "Hey, watch out." He looked up and saw photographer G.N. Miller, a retired NYPD detective, who darted to miss hitting them: "And I'm kind of taken aback. I see this guy jump around me, I look up and I see Alec Baldwin, and then I look back and this guy is snap snap snapping pictures. And Alec says, 'Hey you almost hit that father and son! You almost knocked them over!' Then Alec kept walking down the block, and this guy kept walking backwards and taking pictures of him."

This is what the NY Post wrote in their front-page story on the Baldwin confrontation—the dad pushing his child in a stroller is Jamie:

As oblivious pedestrians walked by, Baldwin told him to “suck my d--k,” Miller said. Baldwin also walked up to random people — including a dad pushing his child in a stroller — and told them Miller was an ex-con and drug dealer, Miller said.

“He was saying some serious racist stuff,” Miller said. “He said some choice words about my mother, and he was telling people in the street that I’m a drug dealer. He could have said a lot of other stuff. But he used all of the stereotypes associated with black people.”

We asked Jamie whether he heard any of these alleged comments: "I didn’t hear 'crackhead' or any derogatory comments," he said. "I don’t wanna use the word that was reported [Editor's note: "coon"]. I certainly did not hear any of that." Jamie agrees with Baldwin that the photographer seemed to be baiting him: "[This happened] almost two blocks from the guy’s house. You took 10 pictures of him the second he walked out of his house, and he's trying to walk his dogs—its a freezing cold day and now he's carrying two dogs under his arm because you’re taking 50 pictures of him walking down the street, just trying to egg him on."

After he saw the Post's story, Jamie felt incensed at the way they were skewering the story, so he decided to write a letter to Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria Thomas: "I just wrote them the letter to say, 'Hey you know I was there, this is what I saw, if you need some information or it would be helpful, just let me know.'" After the cops opened the hate crime investigation, they asked Baldwin if he knew of any witnesses, which led to them interviewing Jamie yesterday afternoon.

"He only called to give me a heads up that the detectives would like to chat with me if that was okay, and I said sure, happy to," Jamie said. "Otherwise I've had no contact with him, I don't know him, I've never been formally introduced to him." He added: "You know, he’s my neighbor I guess, [in the sense that] he lives a block from me and I see him around the neighborhood sometimes, but that’s it."

Jamie made it clear that he wasn't with Baldwin during the whole excursion, and he can't say what else happened during their run-in, but it seems clear the NY Post mischaracterized at least part of their account of the run-in.

As we wrote on our profile on Baldwin, dealing poorly with people who regularly go out of their way to bait him because they know he is (historically) prone to such outbursts is an unfortunate side-effect of being Alec Baldwin. It's something that Jamie seems to sympathize with:

"If you kept pushing me on the subway, I would tell you to fuck off and stop. Of course if you poke a bear with a stick he's gonna bite you," Jamie told us. "If you know that you can set the guy off by following him down the street, you’re gonna set him off and sell your photographs for 10 times what you would normally sell them for. It’s not fair. Look, he's in the public spotlight, that’s his choice, but at the same time he's gotta be entitled to some sort of privacy. You know there's a limit, there should be a limit."