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.
Despite being convicted earlier this year of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Akai Gurley — an unarmed Black man — former NYPD police officer Peter Liang was sentenced today to only 5 years of probation and 800 hours of community service after the judge in his case reduced his conviction to the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide. Consistent with Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson’s unexpectedly lenient recommendations, Liang received no jail time from Judge Danny Chun for taking Gurley’s life in 2014.
Liang’s sentencing had been delayed a week after Liang’s attorney attempted to vacate Liang’s manslaughter conviction on grounds of juror misconduct; that motion failed late last week.
In a statement given to NBC News this afternoon, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson says that he will not seek a prison sentence for former NYPD police officer Peter Liang, convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Akai Gurley last month. Instead, Thompson will ask Judge Danny Chun to sentence Liang to 5 years probation, 6 months of home confinement, and 500 hours of community service. Defending this statement, Thompson wrote that he felt Liang deserved leniency because he does not pose a danger to society.
Chun is scheduled to make a decision on Liang’s sentence on April 14th, and he is almost certain to take into consideration the prosecution’s recommendations.
By Guest Contributor: Timmy Lu (@timmyhlu)
This post was first published on Facebook, and has been adapted for publication on Reappropriate.
There’s a widely shared and watched video floating around the web (after the jump) that features a Chinese American woman speaking at protests organized after a jury found Officer Peter Liang of the NYPD guilty of manslaughter in the killing of Akai Gurley.
It’s a slick and convincing video that uses the kind of politically correct, in vogue language that typically appeals to many Chinese and Asian American progressives like myself.
The message is also absolutely wrong.
After nearly three days of deliberation, jurors found former NYPD rookie police officer Peter Liang guilty of manslaughter and official misconduct in the shooting death of Akai Gurley in late November 2014. Liang, whose position with the NYPD was automatically terminated with his guilty verdict, reportedly dropped his head as the guilty verdict was read. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14th, and Liang faces up to 15 years in prison.
For the last several days, jurors had deliberated Liang’s fate after hearing details about how Liang fired a single round from his service weapon while he and his partner, NYPD police officer Shaun Landau, were conducting a vertical patrol in the heavily-trafficked stairwell of a residential apartment building. Prosecutors argued that Liang acted recklessly when he fired into the darkness of the unlit stairwell despite ample police academy training that instructed him and all officers to not place their fingers in the trigger well of their weapon unless they are ready to fire a shot; jurors also heard that Liang’s weapon required 11.5 pounds of force in order to pull the trigger, a modification specific to police service weapons ensuring that they need nearly twice the force required to fire compared to commercially-available handguns to minimize accidental discharges.
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!