The family of a 13-year-old Brooklyn boy killed by police in 1994 said they want the cop who killed him to be charged with murder.
Officials from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office met with Nicholas Heyward Sr. yesterday. Nicholas Heyward Jr., was killed by a Housing Authority officer while playing with a toy gun.
And while Heyward was assured by investigators during the 45 minute meeting that they would treat this as if it were a cold case, looking at all available evidence, the statue of limitations has passed on all available charges except murder.
“It’s been a struggle for 22 years of injustice,” Heyward said, standing outside of the DA’s office, surrounded by signs with his son’s face on it and that of former-Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes. “I’m still feeling pain. I’m emotional about the whole situation.”
A spokesman for the DA’s office said the case is being reviewed.
“We are in the process of looking into this tragic case and will review the original investigation,” the spokesman said.
Heyward Jr. was killed on the roof of the Gowanus Houses as he held a plastic rifle. The officer, Brian George, was not charged under then-DA Charles Hynes.
George is currently retired from the NYPD, a spokeswoman said.
Heyward said the manslaughter conviction of Officer Peter Liang for the death of Akai Gurley gives him hope. Liang was convicted of killing Gurley in the stairwell of the Pink Houses in 2014 and not giving him CPR afterward.
“I am so honored that we now have a district attorney, Ken Thompson, who is willing to take a real look into these cases,” he said, but added that his confidence in the criminal justice system is low. “The first time I’m seeing a little bit of justice right now is in the Akai Gurley case.”
Roger Wareham, an attorney working with Heyward, said the DA has no records of the investigation from when it happened.
“So far they have shown good faith,” Wareham said. “We think that their prosecution in the Akai Gurley case was a reflection of their willingness to pursue justice and we hope that this is what’s going to happen with Nicholas Heyward Jr.”
But the “likelihood” of whether or not they can charge George with murder, Wareham said, “will depend on the depth of the investigation by the District Attorney’s office.”
Hertencia Petersen, the aunt of Akai Gurley, said 22 years is too long to wait for justice in this shooting.
“All we want is accountability,” Petersen said. “Nicholas Jr. was a child — he was only 13 years old.”
The family plans to meet with the DA’s office again in mid-April.