Meredith Graves Did Not Have Illegal Drugs at 9/11 Memorial, Cops Say
By Shayna Jacobs, Jill Colvin and Murray Weiss
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A tourist from Tennessee who was arrested for carrying a gun at the 9/11 Memorial did not have baggies of cocaine in her purse as police and Mayor Michael Bloomberg originally said.
Last week, Bloomberg remarked that Meredith Graves, "would have been arrested for the cocaine that was in her pocket,” if she'd not been caught with the gun at the World Trade Center site.
Graves' arrest sparked controversy because despite having a permit to carry the .32 caliber gun in Tennessee and asking to check the weapon at the entrance to the memorial, seemingly unaware that her permit was not valid in New York, she was hit with a gun possession charge that carries a lengthy jail term.
“I don’t know why anybody doesn't know what New York State’s gun laws are,” the mayor quipped.
But Bloomberg's claim was refuted by science when the NYPD toxicology lab recently returned results that said the white powder in her purse was not an illegal substance, police confirmed.
Police sources said the toxicology tests were done quicker than they usual because of the attention to this case.
Asked about the incident, the mayor said Tuesday, "Last I checked, we couldn't identify it."
A spokesperson for the mayor said it was the most current information that Bloomberg had, coming off a long holiday weekend.
Graves had told police the substance was crushed aspirin used to treat her migraines, according to sources.
An arrest report filed during her Dec. 22 arrest said she had "two glassine envelopes of alleged cocaine" in addition to a loaded firearm.
Graves, 39, was arrested on a felony gun possession charge when she approached police at the World Trade Center site and asked where she could check in her weapon.
She had a license to carry in her home state but her permit was not valid in New York and she was promptly searched and arrested. Under the state's tough gun laws, she faces a minimum of 3½ years in prison if convicted.
Several public figures, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), have suggested reviewing the strict gun code in light of Graves' case.
Graves was not charged with drug possession by prosecutors, who said they were awaiting the drug test results.
"She was not charged with drugs and will not be charged with drugs because the police laboratory report has come back and has shown she was not in possession of any drugs," said Graves' attorney, Daniel Horwitz.
"This entire situation is unfortunate. It involves an upstanding young woman and we hope to be able to resolve it," the lawyer added.
Graves, who is reportedly a fourth-year medical student, was freed on $2,000 bail after her arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on Dec. 23.
Her husband answered the phone on Tuesday but declined to comment on her behalf.