Heyward Jr. family rail against DA after officer cleared again for fatally shooting 13-year-old

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The District Attorney’s office failed to deliver justice for a 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a policeman while playing “cops and robbers” with a toy gun in a Gowanus public housing complex in 1994, after recently closing a new probe that once again found the officer did not commit a crime, the dead boy’s father said during a rally against the decision Downtown on Nov. 10.

Nicholas Heyward Jr.’s dad said he was shattered by the decision — released Nov. 4 — after holding out hope that late District Attorney Ken Thompson’s work exonerating innocent people would be channeled into helping those killed by the police.

“I have witnessed the office of Ken Thompson get innocent victims out of prison, my son was an innocent victim murdered by the police,” said Nicholas Heyward. “I was hoping that my son’s case would be the start of them taking a look into these other cases of police murder in Brooklyn that also have been covered up.”

Now-retired Officer Brian George came across Heyward Jr. holding a toy rifle in the stairwell of a Gowanus Houses building while on patrol, and says he fired at the boy believing the fake firearm was real.

Heyward had long claimed Hynes and the Police Department colluded to keep the officer out of jail, and he finally convinced Thompson — who overturned many of his predecessors convictions on the grounds of police corruption — to re-investigate the case a year ago.

Thompson — who died of cancer in October — and his team reached the same conclusion as Hynes, however, deciding George was defending himself and acting within his rights, a spokesman said.

“The totality of the evidence shows that, while an undoubtedly tragic incident, we cannot legally sustain murder charges in this case,” said District Attorney office spokesman Oren Yaniv.

But activists at the rally said they will never accept that a police officer can shoot an innocent child and walk away scot-free, and that it sends a dangerous message to those charged with enforcing the law that they themselves are above it.

“This is them telling us that it is okay to murder a child if you got on that uniform and that badge,” said Carl Dix, the founding member of activist group the Revolutionary Communist Party. “That is an unacceptable statement and nobody should accept that.”

Also at the protest was the family of late Red Hook man Akai Gurley, who a patrolman shot and killed in the stairwell of an East New York public housing in 2014. A jury did find Officer Peter Liang guilty of manslaughter, but he stayed out of prison after Thompson recommended he serve no time behind bars.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 11:03 am, November 15, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

Sheila says:
Did the toy gun look real? What are the statistical chances of a such a child being in possession of a firearm?
Nov. 16, 2016, 12:29 am

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