NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An Indian court said Thursday it won’t rule before July 1 on the case of a New York City police officer arrested in New Delhi on a weapons charge.
Officer Manny Encarnacion, 49, was arrested in March after Indian authorities discovered three bullets he had accidentally packed in his luggage, the New York Police Department said. He is out on bail, but has been barred from leaving India until the case is resolved.
Encarnacion’s attorney, Samarjeet Pattnaik, said that the court heard a petition to throw out the arrest, but gave no ruling.
Judge Sunil Gaur extended Encarnacion’s bail until July 1, the next date for hearing arguments in the case, said Pattnaik.
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said in a statement that “We are currently working with the State Department in an effort to resolve this situation.”
Encarnacion has been detained in India under the Indian Arms Act. If convicted, he can be sentenced up to three years in prison, Pattnaik said. He was arrested in March in New Delhi, where he was visiting his wife.
The officer had gone to the department firing range before he left for India and put the bullets in a coat pocket, according to the NYPD. He packed the coat for the trip, forgetting the ammo was there, police officials said.
“Clearly this was an oversight, there was no evil intent here,” Rep. Peter King said earlier this month. “He didn’t have any weapon with him. There’s nothing he could’ve done with these bullets. He’s not going to kill anyone by throwing them at somebody.”
King has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to look into the situation. He called Encarnacion’s 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.
“I have absolutely no doubt that this is blatant retaliation,” King said. “This is wrong.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer agreed saying, “I think the Indian government is making a huge mistake to use a veteran and an active NYPD officer as a pawn in their game. I think their behavior is sort of juvenile.”
But Indian authorities said the arrest had nothing to do with the diplomatic spat.
Pattnaik also said revenge was not a factor in the officer’s arrest.
Pattnaik said 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.
“There is no reason to suspect foul play by the cops nor is there any reason to suspect any diplomatic involvement in this case,” Pattnaik said in a statement on April 5.
Encarnacion joined the NYPD in 2004 and is assigned to a Harlem precinct.
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