According to The Post, Councilwoman Inna Vernikov from Brooklyn, who supports Israel, was arrested for carrying a gun on her waistband while watching a pro-Palestinian rally. She obtained a firearm license as a result of facing persistent sexual harassment, death threats, and stalking. Her lawyer stated that these incidents led her to take measures to ensure her safety.
According to her lawyer, Arthur Aidala, Vernikov has valid and substantiated concerns regarding her safety. This statement was made after she was brought to court on a charge of possessing a 0.9mm pistol. It is important to note that Vernikov was present at CUNY’s Brooklyn College to support Jewish students who were protesting against an anti-Israel rally that took place on October 12.
Initially, this lone woman felt that the best way to safeguard herself was to enroll in self-defense classes. However, as the unwanted attention from men grew more intense, she concluded that purchasing a gun was necessary for her protection and did so through legal means.
In September, the Republican legislator obtained her concealed carry permit, which was granted in July after her application was accepted. Having a firearm in New York State’s sensitive locations, such as schools or protests, is considered illegal.
Aidala has mentioned that the threats against her have escalated since the arrest. It was reported in July that Matthew Penberg, a 40-year-old resident of Virginia, had been taken into custody for leaving threatening messages on the office’s voicemail. However, it is uncertain if this incident is connected to the aforementioned message.
Back in August, a video surfaced of Vernikov expressing her anger towards a man who had approached her from behind and kissed her on the cheek while she was being interviewed by a CBS reporter in Brighton Beach. The incident understandably left her fuming.
Last month, Pavel Rozhkov, also known as the “kissing bandit,” was apprehended and charged with forcible touching and other sexual assault accusations. Rozhkov, 39, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A Brooklyn judge has issued a temporary restraining order against Rozhkov, forbidding him from contacting or approaching Vernikov. The order was issued on Thursday.
During the arraignment on Thursday, Vernikov abstained from submitting a plea. She has been released without bail and is expected to appear in court again on January 24. It is worth noting that Vernikov is actively running for re-election on November 7.
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