Nicholas Naquan Heyward, Jr. was 13 years old when he was shot and killed by NYPD officer Brian George in the housing complex where he lived with his family. Nicholas was playing a game of cops and robbers, using a plastic toy gun with a bright orange tip with his friends, ages 11 to 14. His friends said that when Nicholas realized a police officer was present, he dropped his toy gun and said, “We’re only playing, we’re only play..” The cop shot him in mid-sentence. Nicholas died eight hours later after being taken, not to the nearest hospital in Brooklyn where he lived, but to Manhattan.
District Attorney Charles Hynes closed the case on the grounds that the officer feared for his life when he heard a clicking sound in a dimly lit stairwell. His reasoning did not match Officer George’s deposition, nor the child witnesses present at Nicholas’ killing.
Two years before Nicholas was killed, cops placed the then 11 year old boy in a police line up. When Nicholas’ parents and he protested this, police threatened that he would not live to be 15.