Sections

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

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

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 lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 11:03 am, November 15, 2016
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

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

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!