A GOP New York City council member was cleared on Friday of a criminal gun possession charge after a weapon she was carrying at a pro-Palestine rally in Brooklyn College was deemed “inoperable,” a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said. Councilwoman Inna Vernikov was captured on social media with the handgun while she was counterprotesting to help “Jewish students feel safe.” According to New York law, licensed gun owners are banned from carrying firearms to “sensitive locations” like schools and protests. But the NYPD didn’t arrest Vernikov, instead taking the gun when she voluntarily turned herself in the next day. During an inspection weeks later, officers discovered that the weapon’s recoil spring assembly was missing. The same state law says that for prosecutors to prove charges, the firearm must be operable. It led to an outcry from critics with fellow council member Chi Ossé arguing that because police didn’t take Vernikov into custody at the protest, she could “tamper with the evidence by removing the spring from the gun.” The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment by The City on Friday.
— Chi Ossé (@OsseChi) November 17, 2023