An off-duty member of the New York City Police Department was arrested and charged with forcible rape Friday after allegedly dragging a 25-year-old woman several blocks in Inwood and assaulting her in a backyard. NY1’s Zack Fink filed the following report.
Authorities said it happened Friday morning. A woman was dragged several blocks and then raped, allegedly by a police officer from the nearby 33rd precinct.
"That's the surprising part, that it happened when people are walking their dogs or going to work. People are out and about. It is very bold and brazen of this person," said one resident.
"It’s New York City, but things like this happen all the time in New York City. Our neighborhood is very safe, though,” said another.
Officials said that at about 6:30 a.m., Michael Pena, 27, allegedly approached the 25-year old victim who was on her way to work and asked for directions.
The woman told police that Pena then flashed his gun, dragged her to a backyard and raped her. A neighbor saw what was happening and called 911.
Officers tackled Pena and discovered his badge and gun. He was arrested at the scene.
The three-year veteran was charged with forcible rape and suspended from the force without pay.
“Well, this is a horrendous crime allegedly perpetrated by a city off-duty cop right here in my neighborhood, right across my apartment building,” said Manhattan State Senator Adriano Espaillat. “So I feel this is something that really hurts all New Yorkers. We commend the response of the 34th precinct, they came very rapidly to the scene of the crime and apprehended this individual.”
Residents said they are concerned about an increase in crime in the 34th precinct, which covers upper Inwood.
NYPD statistics show that crime is up 23 percent since August 7, and rape is up 27 percent since last year.
“Between, I think, 175th Street and this area, there’ve been attacks. So you really have to be careful, and we all try to be careful, but this is just beyond words,” said another.
"We've asked the police department for additional resources. We want additional officers assigned to the park area of this neighborhood," said Espaillat.