Council Member Inna Vernikov was arrested on Friday morning for bringing a handgun to a pro-Palestine protest near Brooklyn College on Oct. 12, according to the NYPD.
Vernikov, a Republican who represents District 48, turned herself in at the 70th Precinct after police contacted her regarding photographs circulating on social media that showed the council member at the protest with a handgun in her waistband.
The rep, accompanied by her lawyer, was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a firearm. Cops said Vernikov surrendered the gun and her gun permit at the precinct.
— Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (@JFREJNYC) October 13, 2023
Vernikov did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Though the council member did have a legal permit to own and carry a firearm, it is still illegal in New York State to have a gun at “sensitive locations,” including protests and on college campuses. Police said no one was “menaced or injured as a result of her possessing the firearm at the earlier protest.”
Criminal possession of a firearm is a Class E felony in New York State, and conviction can result in a hefty fine and up four years in prison.
Thursday’s student-organized protest was originally planned to take place on-campus, but was moved to Bedford Avenue just outside the campus at the urging of several elected officials – including Vernikov.
“The rally was moved to be outside of the College and will now be in the confines and under the purview of the NYPD,” Vernikov said in a joint statement issued alongside council members Farah Louis and Kalman Yeger. “Councilmembers Louis and Vernikov will be present at the rally and if you do not feel safe you can walk over to them, and they will help you. There will be a heavy police presence at the protest and a heavy presence throughout the neighborhood.”