New York City councilwoman charged after attending Brooklyn pro-Palestine rally with gun visible

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Friday, October 13, 2023
NYC councilwoman charged with gun possession
City Councilmember Inna Vernikov was charged with criminal possession of a firearm after showing up a Palestine rally with a gun visible in her hip.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- New York City Councilmember Inna Vernikov was charged with criminal possession of a firearm after showing up to Thursday's Brooklyn College protest with a gun visible in her hip.

The councilwoman, a Ukrainian-born lawyer who represents southern Brooklyn, surrendered to the 70th Precinct with her attorney and was issued a summons to appear in court at a later date.

She also surrendered both her weapon and her permit to carry a firearm.

Vernikov has a concealed carry license, but appears to be breaking the state law passed earlier this year making it illegal to possess a gun at a protest.

She was counter-protesting the pro-Palestine rally organized by the Brooklyn College chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine Day of Action.

Vernikov is Jewish and has been vocal in support of Israel. She claimed in a statement the rally would make CUNY campuses unsafe.

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"At no point in time was anyone menaced or injured as a result of her possessing the firearm at the earlier protest," a police statement said.

She posted a video Thursday stating, "If you are here, standing today with these people, you're nothing short of a terrorist without the bombs."

Vernikov's arrest is being referred to the City Council's Standards and Ethics Committee, of which she happens to be a member, for possible disciplinary action.

Under New York law, a person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor can be barred from elected office. Amber Adler, the Democrat running against Vernikov in next month's Council elections, is calling the council to vote to expel the Republican from office.

City Council minority leader Joseph Borelli said Vernikov is sorry about what happened and she will address the charges in court.

"It is unacceptable and unlawful for a civilian to ever bring a firearm to a rally or protest, and especially important for elected officials to model a respect for the law that is expected of all New Yorkers," Speaker Adrienne Adams said in a statement. "It is the responsibility of the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney to enforce the law in what is a criminal matter, and the Council will respect that process. The Council is investigating the impact of Council Member Vernikov's actions and the disposition within the legal process on her participation in the body. I am referring this matter to the Standards and Ethics Committee, which may require the recusal of committee members."

Gov. Kathy Hochul commented on social media saying, "New York's gun safety laws apply to everyone."

CUNY For Palestine, which has a running disagreement with the councilwoman, posted one of the many pictures of her with her weapon and a statemen:

"At today's rally on Brooklyn College campus led by the students in their SJP chapter, Inna Vernikov showed up showcasing a gun to Palestinian students and their allies. These are the tactics of force and intimidation used by zionist groups to silence any support for Palestine."

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