Friday, April 4, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer has been detained in India on a weapons charge after authorities there discovered three bullets he accidentally packed in his luggage, police officials said Friday.
Officer Manny Encarnacion was arrested early last month while traveling in New Delhi, where he was visiting his wife. He's been barred from leaving the country until the case is resolved, the officials said.
New York Police Department Deputy Chief Kim Royster said his agency 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.
Devyani Khobragade was a deputy consul general in New York when she was arrested in December near her children's Manhattan school on charges she overworked and underpaid her Indian housekeeper. The arrest shook U.S.-Indian relations, with India removing concrete traffic barriers around the U.S. Embassy and revoking diplomats' ID cards. Khobragade maintained she was not guilty and also had immunity, but she complied with a Department of State request to leave the United States.
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 was worried whether Americans were 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.
Encarnacion's next court date in India is April 17, U.S. officials said.
AP National Security Writer Lara Jakes in Washington contributed to this report.