Aussie cop who pointed gun at colleague over Top Gun spoiler convicted
An Australian police officer was convicted by a Sydney court on Thursday after threatening to shoot a colleague who had joked about revealing the ending of the Tom Cruise blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick earlier this year.
Constable Dominic Gaynor, 30, was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order for two years and 100 hours of community service by the Downing Centre Local Court, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), after he was found guilty of carrying a firearm with disregard for the safety of another person.
The incident took place on May 29 when Gaynor was working behind the counter at Day Street Police Station in Sydney’s central business district.
The complainant, 26-year-old Probationary Constable Morgan Royston, had shared with Gaynor that he had seen the movie the previous night and told Gaynor: “I’ll spoil it for you.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Gaynor replied with an expletive while laughing saying: “Don’t spoil the movie, c***” while another officer had walked out of the room saying “lalalala”.
When a phone rang, one of the officers picked it up just as Gaynor said: “I’ll shoot you”, directing the threat to Mr Royston.
Gaynor then took his police-issued Glock pistol out of its holster and held it out, pointing it at Mr Royston and holding it for five seconds while laughing. His finger was not on the trigger.
According to ABC, Mr Royston was left distraught by the incident and has since left the force.
“I always thought I would be safe around my trained colleagues. When I see a police officer now, I feel compelled to watch them and make sure their hand is not on their firearm,” Mr Royston said, adding that the incident triggered nightmares which ended with him being shot and killed.
He also found it extremely hard face Gaynor at the station following the incident, falling into depression, and that he had no idea why Gaynor had behaved in that manner.
Mr Royston said: “It has put a permanent fear of harm into my mind, from which I find it difficult to escape.”
Magistrate Michael Maher said those who are permitted to carry guns have an “unrelenting degree of responsibility”, and Gaynor breached this duty when he showed “utter disregard” for safety.
The judge also noted the “power imbalance” between Gaynor and his more junior colleague.
Mr Maher acknowledged several character references for Gaynor, saying the officer’s actions represented “an unfortunate lapse of judgement”, which was not representative of his “true character” but did not accept that pointing a loaded gun at a junior officer was “a joke, it was funny, or it was tomfoolery”.
He said: “On any stretch of the imagination, this conduct was poor and, at the very least, demonstrated reckless judgment.
“The offender must be punished.”