CAAAV Calls on AAPI to Post Selfies to #JusticeForAkaiGurley

Akai-Gurley-Selfie

As readers of this blog no doubt are already aware, the indictment of Chinese American NYPD officer Peter Liang in the shooting death of Akai Gurley has divided the AAPI community. While progressive AAPI are largely in support of Officer Liang’s indictment as necessary accountability in the wake of the suspicious death of an unarmed Black civilian, some Chinese Americans are organizing nationwide rallies to protest what they perceive is the racial “scapegoating” of Officer Liang.

Recently, I was approached by an Asian American ethnic media reporter (who approached me off the record to express his own apprehension at speaking out, and thus whose identity I will protect) who was interested in possibly writing about the pro-Liang rallies. He said: “Anti-indictment people have taken the upper hand in voicing their opinions, and those who disagree with them have been branded as ‘traitors'”.

I was asked how — given this — I was able to write so openly in support of Officer Liang’s indictment.

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Grand Jury considering indictment of Asian American cop in shooting death of unarmed 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 by a single gunshot fired by rookie police officer Peter Liang (photo credit: Facebook)

There was no indictment in the shooting death of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. There was no indictment  in the choking death of unarmed Black man Eric Garner by NYPD officer Dan Pantaleo.

Now, a Brooklyn Grand Jury is considering an indictment in the shooting death of Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old Black man who died after being shot once in the chest by NYPD rookie officer Peter Liang, who is Asian American.

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Michael Brown: 50 years after James Chaney, how little has changed? | #BlackLivesMatter

Unarmed teenager Mike Brown, who was shot to death by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Missouri last month.
Unarmed teenager Mike Brown, who was shot to death by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Missouri in August of this year.

Yesterday, President Obama post-humously awarded James Chaney the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in this country. Chaney, along with Cornell students Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, was a freedom rider travelling through rural Mississippi to register Black voters when he was lynched and killed. He was 21.

Fifty years after his death and just hours after his memory was honoured, we received the heart-breaking (but entirely expected) verdict: there would be no justice for yet another Black man killed far too young. The justice system has failed Black America, yet again.

Last night, President  Obama addressed the nation, urging us to recognize the country’s “enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades.” The president is right — much has changed since the summer of 1964.

Yet, much has not.

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