The 47-year-old deputy mayor of Airmont, NY, is facing 30 state and federal criminal charges. Last week, Brian Downey was arrested on weapons charges after law enforcement found illegal weapons and fake IDs in his home. NPR reports that a raid of Downey’s home turned up “16 assault weapons and 13 silencers,” as well as “a stash of fake federal IDs, including FBI credentials.” The New York Times reports a total of 17 unregistered firearms were confiscated in the raid.
The District Attorney for Rockland County, Tom Walsh, released a statement on the arrest and charges saying “Anyone who takes an oath of office to serve the public and is entrusted to by their community to serve its constituents should have integrity beyond reproach.” According to NPR, Downey’s defense of having a rifle with an illegal barrel (among other illegal things) was his belief that he was allowed to “because he was a peace officer.” Downey does not seem to have elaborated on that defense.
According to the District Attorney’s press release, Downey remains in jail with a $250,000 unsecured bail bond. He faces charges that include possession of unregistered firearms; possession of federal badges, identification cards, and other insignia; criminal possession of ten or more unregistered firearms; individual criminal possession charges for each of the illegal weapons; and individual charges for possession of 13 illegal silencers. The Times reports that while Mr. Downey does possess “a pistol license, which lists other firearms,” none of the listed firearms appear in the charges against him.
According to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News, Department of Homeland Security agents handled the investigation of Downey’s illegal online purchases, leading to the warrant and raid of the deputy mayor’s house.
One of the more disturbing finds uncovered in the raid is “a Drug Enforcement Administration badge and badge holder; a U.S. marshals badge and holder; three FBI badges and badge holders; and three complete FBI credential sets, including two-part identification cards, with Downey’s name and photo. Other credentials bore the imprints of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice.” These were all located inside a lockbox that law enforcement says Downey told them he did not know how to open.
Law enforcement has not provided any theories as to what Mr. Downey planned to do with this arsenal of weapons and fake IDs. One thing is clear: Mr. Downey either really doesn’t understand the law, or he truly is delusional in his understanding of his place in our society. New York, more than many states has some very serious online gun laws. You cannot even buy or sell a realistic toy gun in New York state. That law has been on the books for years.
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