$4.5 Million Dollar Settlement Reached in Shooting Death of Akai Gurley

Akai Gurley was killed November 20th by a single gunshot fired by rookie police officer Peter Liang (photo credit: Facebook)
Akai Gurley was killed November 20th, 2014 by a single gunshot fired by rookie police officer, Peter Liang (Photo Credit: Facebook)

NBC News reports today that a settlement was reached in a civil suit filed by the Gurley family following the killing of 28-year-old Akai Gurley in late 2014. According to NBC, the City of New York will pay $4.1 million dollars, while an additional $400,000 will be paid by the New York City Housing Authority, and $25,000 will be paid by former NYPD officer, Peter Liang, who fired the fatal shot.

All settlement money will be deposited into a fund to be held in trust for Gurley’s four-year-old daughter, Akaila, until she is 18.

Gurley died on November 20, 2014 after Liang pulled the trigger of his gun in a stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses that ricocheted off the wall and struck Gurley. Liang and Landau had been conducting a vertical patrol of the public housing building when Liang fired the fatal shot. Prosecutors later argued that Liang violated his Academy training with regard to proper handling of his service weapon and that this resulted in Gurley’s death. They further argued that neither he nor Landau provided life-saving measures upon discovering a mortally wounded Gurley.

The shooting of Akai Gurley sparked nationwide protests as part of the larger Movement for Black Lives, but also mobilized thousands of Chinese American counter-protesters who rallied to defend Liang after he was indicted on manslaughter charges in the shooting. The controversy inspired a deep conversation on race, police brutality, and anti-blackness within the Asian American community, and many AAPI organizations (including this blog) signed an open letter in support of Black lives following the demonstrations for Liang.

Eventually, Liang was convicted of the crime of second-degree manslaughter for his part in the shooting death of Akai Gurley, but sentenced to a mere 800 hours of community service after his charge was reduced by the presiding judge in his case. His partner, Shaun Landau, escaped a criminal charge, and Liang is currently appealing his conviction. Nonetheless, both were fired from the NYPD, and both were also originally named in the civil suit filed by the Gurley family. In their initial response to the lawsuit, Liang and Landau’s attorneys blamed Akai Gurley for his death, before Liang, the NYCHA, and the City of New York arrived at yesterday morning’s settlement; Landau had been earlier released from the complaint.

According to Liang’s attorney, Liang will be responsible for coming up with the $25,000 he owes to the Gurley family within the next four months. Several crowd-sourced legal defense funds were set up in February for Liang and his family, but it is unclear how much money those funds raised or whether any of it is available to pay the settlement.

Liang is reportedly currently serving his community service sentence at local non-profit organizations, where he is mopping floors and cooking food among other duties.

Read More: New York City, Peter Liang to Pay $4.1 Million Settlement to Family of Akai Gurley (NBC News)

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  • Guest

    At least something good came out of this. But still…

    Thanks for the info, Jen.

  • MMJames

    I am glad that the Ghurley family has received due compensation for their loss. Money will never bring back a life but at least the little one will have a better chance at a normal life.

    Having said that, I tried to keep my mouth shut but this has been eating away at me and I think that it is only fair that these words be said: *This blog and 18MR and other groups that maligned the mostly Chinese immigrants that organized the protest on the behalf of Liang should be writing apology letters*. They were right all along. Just put the Liang results side by side with the Ilardi results. Had the Chinese folks not acted, Liang quite possibly could be rotting in jail right now and for the next half a dozen years. A the same time, Ilardi who is a black cop that accidentally killed an asian student gets to run around free like a butterfly. Remember all those nasty words that were written on this blog (and similar) about how cops are not above the law and how they should be held accountable? These were all directed at Liang BUT WHY IS ILARDI ESCAPING ALL OF THIS??? Does he get a free pass because of the color of his skin? Since this blog is so much against the organized protests but steers clear from subjecting Ilardi to similar attack, this suggests that this blog wanted (asian) Liang to rot in jail and (black) Ilardi to be free even though both cops fck’ed up similarly. Where is all this talk about morality and fairness now?