A man accused of stealing a police officer's gun from a police stationhouse says he was just trying to do the right thing, adding he has the video to prove it, though he won't say where he got the gun or who gave it to him. NY1’s Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger filed the following exclusive report.
Ronald De Shields is behind bars at the Manhattan Detention Center awaiting trial for the theft of a gun that he later turned into a gun buyback program.
De Shields took a cellphone video, exclusively obtained by NY1, of himself carrying and turning in the silver firearm to the 90th police precinct in Brooklyn.
He said it is evidence he was trying to do the right thing by getting a gun off the street.
"I just didn't want to just carry it on me," he said. "When I came in contact with this gun, I turned it in. I did what I thought was best. I just wanted to pretty much make sure no one was hurt with this weapon."
The only problem is the gun he turned in a year-and-a-half ago to the gun buyback program at the 90th precinct had been stolen from a police lieutenant's locker at the 103rd precinct in Queens.
De Shields said it just doesn't make sense that he would steal the gun from a police precinct.
"According to my lawyer, what the paperwork says, nothing was broken into. I mean, do I know this police officer's combination? How would I have gotten in there?" said De Shields. "I did not go in this precinct. I did not go into these officers' lockers. I was not even there."
Police and the Queens district attorney said De Shield's fingerprints were found on the locker. Initially, authorities said he impersonated a fire marshal to get into secure areas of the precinct but he is not charged with that.
De Shields is a former volunteer firefighter for the Broad Channel Fire Department. He has even been at a community event with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
New York City Police Department officials said their investigation found no officers were involved with stealing the gun. De Shields said that is a cover-up.
"My message to the police department is this. You're trying to stick this on me when you know I didn't do this. Do your jobs, be police officers, go after one of your own if it means bringing down one of your own,” he said.
Police say De Shield's name was not taken at the gun buyback program and he was not arrested for turning in the weapon.
The department says it maintains a no questions asked policy when guns are turned in at buybacks.
Again, De Shields wouldn't say where he got the gun or who gave it to him.
He says that information will come out in trial.