NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The lawyer representing the New York Police Department officer detained in India on a weapons charge said revenge was not a factor in the officer’s arrest, despite what many U.S. politicians have asserted.
Officer Manny Encarnacion was arrested early last month after authorities in New Delhi discovered three bullets he accidentally packed in his luggage, police officials said.
Encarnacion, who was there visiting his wife, has been barred from leaving the country until the case is resolved, the officials said.
New York Police Department Deputy Chief Kim Royster said the department was working with the State Department to try to get the charges dropped so Encarnacion could return to the United States.
In a letter dated Friday, Rep. Peter King asked Secretary of State John Kerry to look into the situation. The New York Republican called the arrest “an excessive act by the Indian government” and suggested it was payback for last year’s arrest and strip-search of an Indian consular official for alleged visa fraud in New York.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said she was aware of the reports of the officer’s arrest but declined to comment on the specifics of the case because of privacy concerns.
Asked whether the United States is worried whether Americans are potential targets for retribution because of how the Indian diplomat was treated in New York, she responded, “I think we feel like we’ve moved past this and hope the Indians have as well. — India is a very close partner.”
Encarnacion, 49, joined the NYPD in 2004 and is assigned to a Harlem precinct.
The officer had gone to the department firing range before he left for India and put the bullets in a coat pocket, according to police. He packed the coat for the trip, forgetting the ammo was there, police officials said.
In a statement released on Saturday, a lawyer for Encarnacion said that the arrest was part of normal legal procedure but was hopeful that the court would recognize that the bullets were left in the jacket by mistake.
“The arrest of our client Manny and subsequent FIR under the Arms Act, was as per the normal and standard legal procedure under which even Indians are arrested as per Law of the Country and there is no reason to suspect foul play by the cops nor is there any reason to suspect any diplomatic involvement in this case. We as lawyers believe that he was not specifically targeted and are hopeful that the Indian Courts will understand the circumstances under which the bullets were left in his jacket by mistake.” “We request the media not to link this case to the Indian Diplomat’s case. Manny is in great spirits and has complete faith in the legal System in India,” Samarjit G Pattnaik.
Encarnacion’s next court date in India is April 17, U.S. officials said.
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