Republican Brooklyn City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov – who was spotted toting a firearm at a pro-Palestinian rally -quietly slipped in and out of court Thursday morning after being cut loose without bail on gun charges.
The councilwoman, who is Jewish, walked into Brooklyn Criminal Court shortly after the doors opened at 9 a.m. and left quickly after her arraignment on a single charge of criminal possession of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun in a sensitive location stemming from the Oct. 12 incident at CUNY’s Brooklyn College.
“Protect our students, protect them all. Vernikov has got to go,” more than a dozen pro-Palestinian activists waiting outside the courthouse chanted as the pol and her lawyer walked past.
“Vernikov, you can’t hide. You’re supporting genocide,” they yelled.
Photos from the rally appeared to show Vernikov, 39, with the butt-end of a gun in her waistline as she glared at protesting students.
The councilwoman surrendered at the 70th Precinct stationhouse the following day and was released with a desk appearance ticket pending her first court hearing on Thursday.
The councilwoman has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but it is illegal in New York state to have a firearm in a sensitive location like school grounds or a protest.
Her attorney, Arthur Aidala, questioned the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office’s evidence following the hearing Thursday.
“From a lawyer’s point of view, the things I can question are, number one, does the gun work and, number two, who saw her with a gun?” Aidala said.
“That’s what they need to prove and we’ll see what evidence turns up between now and [the next court date on] January 24th,” he added.
“But as of today, there is no evidence that the gun works and there is no evidence that somebody actually saw her with the gun.”
The protest at the CUNY campus was one of several pro-Palestinian demonstrations that have taken place in New York since radical Hamas militants carried out a brutal Oct. 7 sneak attack on Israel that killed more than 1,400 — nearly all of them civilians.
Pro-Israeli protesters and pro-Palestinian protesters have clashed in several volatile encounters.
Police said no one was “menaced or injured” when Vernikov showed up with the gun — but the stunt didn’t sit well with some, including other elected officials in the Big Apple.
“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 and respect the law,” City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said after the incident.
She also said the council was probing the incident.
Vernikov did not comment on the incident but posted a clip of herself at the rally on X.
“If you’re standing w/the protesters, 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 and apologist who would like to bring the terror here to rid the world of the Jewish people,” she wrote with the clip.
The charge against her is a class-E felony.