Brooklyn, NY – After fatally shooting an innocent unarmed man in a dimly lit stairwell, NYPD Officer Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter and official misconduct in February. Instead of administering CPR or requesting an ambulance for the dying father of two young girls, Liang bickered with his partner and whined about possibly losing his job.
Shortly after the jury convicted Liang of second-degree manslaughter and official misconduct, the NYPD fired him. Liang was the first NYPD cop convicted in an officer-involved shooting in at least a decade and was facing up to 15 years in prison. However, thanks to an infuriatingly corrupt system that grants special rights to its members, Peter Liang will not see a single day in jail.
On Tuesday, a Brooklyn judge ordered Liang to serve five years’ probation and complete 800 hours of community service, saying the Chinese American rookie cop never intended to shoot, let alone kill, Akai Gurley, according to the LA Times.
In spite of Liang intentionally and irresponsibly pulling the trigger, with the intention to shoot whoever was in front of him, Judge Danny Chun called the shooting an accident.
“Shooting that gun and killing someone was probably the last thing in his mind and probably never entered his mind at all,” Chun said. “This was not an intentional act…. There’s no evidence, either direct or circumstantial, that the defendant was aware of Akai Gurley’s presence.”
Naturally, Gurley’s family reacted with sheer sadness as the man responsible for taking their son, father, brother, and friend was told that he will not be held accountable for his actions.
On November 20, 2014, NYPD officers Peter Liang and Shaun Landau were conducting patrols on the upper floors of the Louis H. Pink housing project in Brooklyn even though Deputy Inspector Miguel Iglesias had ordered them not to conduct vertical patrols inside the building. Liang initially reported opening the door to the stairwell with the same hand holding his Glock .9mm pistol. Instead of opening the door with his right hand, which held his flashlight, Liang claimed he accidentally fired a shot that ricocheted off the wall and into Akai Gurley’s chest.
“They didn’t identify themselves,” recalled Gurley’s girlfriend, Melissa Butler. “No nothing. They didn’t give no explanation. They just pulled a gun and shot him in the chest.”
Standing on the floor below them, Gurley staggered down to the fifth floor where he collapsed. Melissa Butler ran to an apartment to ask for help and called 911. As the operator instructed Butler to administer first aid until the paramedics arrived, Liang and Landau remained in the stairwell texting their union rep instead of immediately calling in the shooting or requesting an ambulance.
“It was an accident,” Liang whimpered to his partner, entirely unconcerned about the life he just took. “I’m gonna get fired.”
Gurley was transported to Brookdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officers Liang and Landau were taken to a separate hospital for treatment of tinnitus. Liang was placed on administrative duty following the incident.
“There was absolutely no threat to him, his partner or any resident,” stated Assistant District Attorney Mark Fliedner. “He mishandled his weapon, and as a result, Akai Gurley is dead.”
Last year, a grand jury indicted Liang on charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and two counts of official misconduct. During Liang’s trial, Fliedner told jurors, “Instead of doing all that he could to help Akai Gurley, he wasted precious time arguing with his partner about calling for help. In fact, instead of calling for help, he just stood there and whined and moaned about how he would get fired.”
Changing his original story, Liang stated that his finger was not on the trigger when he entered the stairwell. Instead, he now claims his finger was resting on the side of his gun before the shooting. In his defense, Liang testified, “I heard something on my left side… It startled me (then) the gun just went off.”
Akai Gurley did not deserve to die because the NYPD handed a badge and gun over to an incompetent coward. Peter Lang now becomes a member of the long list of killer NYPD cops whom the system has failed to effectively prosecute, including, Daniel Pantaleo, Paul Headley, Michael Carey, Marc Cooper, Gescard Isnora, Michael Oliver, Richard Neri Jr., Bryan Conroy, Edward McMellon, Sean Carroll, Kenneth Boss, Richard Murphy, etc.
“Akai had family that loved him just like Peter Liang, a mother just like Peter Liang,” Peterson, Gurley’s aunt, told The Times this month.
“But Liang’s mother can come visit him every day,” she said. “Akai Gurley’s mom … has to visit his grave.”