SGA president arrested

Peña: Arrest is example of excessive policing by UCF officers

By Krista Zilizi

Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2002

Updated: Sunday, February 15, 2009

Student body president Marco Peña landed in Orange County Jail early Friday morning after UCF police arrested him for disorderly intoxication hours after fraternity recruitment concluded for the evening.
Peña, 22, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, was arrested outside the SAE fraternity house after Peña repeatedly attempted to intervene with UCF officers who were conducting a traffic stop in the fraternity house's parking lot, a police report said.
Officers said that Peña appeared drunk; he had blood shot eyes and his speech was slurred.
Peña denies that he was drunk, but admits he was at a local bar earlier in the evening.
Officers warned Peña to leave the scene and return to the SAE house; Peña refused.
Peña said he told the officers, "Listen, I am student body president, I'm not trying to cause trouble—I have an obligation as student body president to make sure everything is OK."
"I wasn't trying to be the middleman or anything, I was just observing," he said.
Officers say Peña repeatedly goaded the two UCF officers to take him to jail, and boasted that he was a close friend of UCF Police Chief Richard Turkiewicz, who Peña said "would get this [matter] taken care of."
UCF officers took Peña to the campus police department where police gave him a sobriety test that showed Peña was impaired, according to the police report.
Peña said the whole incident happened very fast and police refused to take witness accounts while they held him at the UCF police department. Peña calls the incident an example of excessive policing of fraternities, sororities and student leaders by UCF officers.
"This is an ongoing issue of concern for those I am elected to serve—the student body," said Peña.
"My presence at the incident that occurred Friday morning was appropriate and I believe my actions were tempered," he said.
Peña said that he hopes his arrest will motivate the UCF police department, the school administration and student government to seek a solution to prevent UCF police from targeting and harassing certain students.
Peña, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence, remained in Orange County Jail until Friday afternoon and was unable to attend UCF's first football game at Penn State.

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