The Harlem cop charged with assaulting a rookie subway conductor in the Bronx walked out of court on a misdemeanor rap Friday — infuriating transit union officials.
Officer Mirjan Lolja, 37, was hit with a top charge of third degree assault for the Dec. 23 attack on female conductor Fatima Futa, 28.
“There is a glaring disparate treatment at play with New York's criminal justice system when a police officer is allowed to brutally assault a uniformed TWU Local 100 conductor and walk away with what amounts to a slap on the wrist,” said Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen.
“Had one of our conductors viciously assaulted a uniformed female police officer, an arrest would have occurred immediately, and that conductor would be facing substantial felony charges.
“It's despicable,” Samuelsen added, “and transit workers will not be silenced in our outrage.”
Lolja, through his lawyer, pleaded not guilty at his brief arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court.
Wearing a black pinstriped suit, white shirt and navy blue tie, Lolja kept his mouth shut as he strolled out of the courthouse after he was released on his own recognizance.
Experts were shocked to hear that Lolja — who was also charged with official misconduct and second-degree harassment — dodged a felony rap.
Attacking an MTA employee is a felony in New York State punishable by up to seven years in prison.
“Based on the complaint, it’s sufficient to allege that he intended to cause a transit worker injury and did,” said Mark Bederow, a former Manhattan prosecutor. “In the state of New York, that is sufficient for a felony assault.”
In a statement, Bronx District Attorney spokeswoman Terry Raskyn defended the charges.
“There is an adequate scope of punishment (one year) covered by a misdemeanor charge,” Raskyn said. “Charging is always at the discretion of the District Attorney.”
Prosecutors say Lolja was off duty when he bum-rushed Futa at the Tremont Ave. station because he was irate about having to wait 20 minutes for a train.
Lolja "jumped on (Futa’s) back (and) wrapped his upper arm and forearm around (her) neck, causing (her) to fall to the ground and experience substantial pain to her knees, neck and shoulders," the complaint says.
While Futa was on the ground, Lolja grabbed her hair with both hands and pulled — causing “substantial pain in her scalp," the complaint adds.
The officer fled the scene but turned himself in after a video captured him going through the turnstiles with a smirk on his face. He was subsequently suspended from duty.
In an interview with the Daily News earlier this month, Futa said she had no time to react.
"Before I turned around, this guy was on my back and I'm on the floor," Futa told The News.
"I was on my knees on the floor. It just happened so fast. I'm trying to get this guy off me and he's not letting up. He's choking me and pulling my hair."
The beatdown on the D line platform continued even after a co-worker tried to stop Lolja, Futa said.
"I felt like it lasted forever," she added. "I was really scared for my life."
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With Thomas Tracy