NYPD officer suspended in attack on MTA worker
An investigation is underway to determine whether an off-duty NYPD officer attacked a transit worker in the Bronx.
Officer Mirjan Lolja, who is now suspended without pay from the 25th Precinct in Harlem pending an internal investigation into whether he committed the crime, turned himself in on Wednesday night.
A 28-year-old female, uniformed MTA worker was assaulted Dec. 23 on the northbound D train platform at East Tremont Avenue. According to investigators, the incident started after the man became irate over service delays on the train. Joe Costales, chairman of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, says the man pointed his cellphone at the MTA worker's face.
"I was outraged," says Costales, adding that the suspect invaded the MTA workers' personal space. "She pushed it away, but unfortunately, it hit the floor ... She turned around and walked away, thinking she defused the situation."
The suspect allegedly grabbed the woman in a bear hug from behind, then pushed her to the floor and choked her before running away. The MTA employee, who had started her job as a platform worker just days before the attack, suffered injuries to her head, neck and back.
"Unfortunately, sometimes we get assaulted. It happens," says Costales. "It almost comes with the territory even though it shouldn't be there."
The MTA worker is recovering a home. She will receive workers' compensation as a result of the attack.
Attacking an MTA worker is a felony crime punishable by up to seven years in prison.