The arrest of Republican Brooklyn Councilwoman Inna Vernikov on Friday follows calls for her resignation following her presence with a pistol at a pro-Palestinian rally the previous day.
Protesters gathered on the campus of CUNY’s Brooklyn College on Thursday afternoon, and the councilwoman, who is Jewish and has spoken out against pro-Palestinian sympathizers, was there.
Between midday and 2:45 p.m., Vernikov, 39, was spotted watching the demonstration “with the butt-end of a firearm protruding from the front portion of her pants.” police officials said on Thursday.
Just before 3 a.m. on Friday, she and her attorney reported to the 70th Precinct.
She turned over her firearm and permit, and instead of being processed, she was given a desk appearance ticket.
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.— CUNY4Palestine (@Cuny4P) October 12, 2023
These are the tactics of force and intimidation used by zionist groups to silence any support for Palestine. pic.twitter.com/woQ6KGE1Gv
“At no point in time was anyone menaced or injured as a result of her possessing the firearm at the earlier protest,” police sources said.
Even if Vernikov has a concealed carry permit, it is still against the law in New York for her to bring a gun to a rally or on school property.
Police sources said that the councilwoman was jailed on Friday evening for a Class E felony, which carries a sentence of two to five years in prison.
“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,” New York City Council Speaker Adrienne E. Adams said Friday.
“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.”
The councilwoman posted a video of herself on X Thursday afternoon, addressing at the scene of the heated demonstration.
“If you’re standing w/ the protestors, yelling ‘GLOBALIZE THE INTIFADA’ & ‘FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA, PALESTINE WILL BE FREE’ while innocent women and babies are being raped, massacred and beheaded, you’re a HAMAS supporter & apologist who would like to bring the terror here to rid the world of the Jewish people,” she wrote alongside the clip.
The councilwoman’s pistol was not apparent in her own video, but photographs and footage of her with the weapon in plain view rapidly went viral online.
“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,” CUNY4Palestine tweeted alongside one such image.
“These are the tactics of force and intimidation used by zionist groups to silence any support for Palestine.”
“She should lose her job and the gun license taken away from her,” one attendee commented.
At @BrooklynCollege rally this afternoon with @CMFarahLouis & @KalmanYeger. If you’re standing w/ the protestors, yelling “GLOBALIZE THE INTIFADA” & “FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA, PALESTINE WILL BE FREE” while innocent women and babies are being raped, massacred and beheaded, you’re… pic.twitter.com/7ESRAGrjtb— Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (@InnaVernikov) October 12, 2023
“This is a domestic terrorist,” a third chimed in.
A few social media users also reposted the photos of Vernikov with her weapon in full view alongside the hashtag “ExpelVernikov.”