UPPER MANHATTAN — Northern Manhattan elected officials are sounding off after an off-duty police officer accused of raping a woman in Inwood last week said he’s being targeted by the District Attorney's office so they can "make an example" out of him.
Assemblyman Guillermo Linares and City Councilman Robert Jackson released a joint statement Monday calling officer Michael Pena’s statements “outrageous and a slap in the face of all New Yorkers.”
“The District Attorney is not out to get cops but out to protect people from violent attacks, especially from an off duty police officer,” the statement read. “Pena should talk to his attorney instead of bringing additional shame and embarrassment to his family, NYPD and the people of our great city.”
Pena said he is concerned his case will be tried unfairly in light of public outcry over the recent acquittal of NYPD officers Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno in the rape case of an East Village woman earlier this year.
"The DA is arresting cops, indicting cops," Pena told the Daily News from jail on Riker’s Island.
The two city officials said the DA's office should "throw the book" at Pena.
“This case is a black eye for NYPD,” Linares and Jackson said in their statement. “We know the 34,000 police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect New Yorkers and are not happy about this case. If Mr. Pena has something to say, let him say it in court."
Pena’s attorney Juan Campos declined to comment on his client’s statements Monday.
“I told him not to speak to the press and he won’t be speaking to them again,” Campos said.
Campos said he was busy collecting information about the case to give his “client a fair trial” and had no response to the joint Jackson and Linares statement.
“I don’t care what politicians say,” he said.
Pena, 27, a three-year veteran assigned to the 33rd Precinct, was charged with one count of first degree rape, two counts of criminal sex act in the first degree and three counts of predatory sexual assault and was held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond.
Pena, who is due back in court Wednesday, faces up to life in prison if convicted.