NYPD Officer Found Guilty of Fatally Shooting Akai Gurley

The progress from Western colonial global expansion, and the construction of American wealth and industry on the backs of enslaved Blacks and Native peoples, followed by the abrupt "emancipation" of the slaves and their exodus from the South to the Northern cities, has led us to our current divided society. Divided by economic inequities and unequal access to social resources, the nation lives in a media dream of social harmony, or did until YouTube set its bed on fire. Now, it is common knowledge that our current system of brutal racist policing and punitive over-incarceration serves the dual purpose of maintaining racial prejudice and the inequities it justifies. Brief yourself on this late-breaking development in American history here.

NYPD Officer Found Guilty of Fatally Shooting Akai Gurley

Postby admin » Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:40 am

NYPD Officer Found Guilty of Fatally Shooting Akai Gurley
By Alexandra Jacobo
February 12, 2016

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The jury, a panel of seven men and five women, deliberated for two days before delivering the verdict. One juror called it a “very hard decision.”

In a rare conviction, NYPD officer Peter Liang was convicted this week for the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley. Liang was found guilty of manslaughter and official misconduct.

Some are calling the verdict “shocking” and claim that it shows how much the public’s opinion on police killings has changed in the last 2 years. Liang is the first NYPD officer to be convicted of a police-involved shooting in a decade. He is the second police officer to be convicted in the United States this year, with Daniel Holzclaw convicted last month for the rape and assault of eight African American women.

Akai Gurley was killed by a ricocheted bullet as he was walking down a housing project stairwell. Officer Liang and his partner were walking the stairwells on vertical patrols, which consist of officers patrolling stairwells in high-crime buildings with their guns out. Liang heard a noise during the patrol and fired his gun. The bullet he fired ricocheted off a wall and hit Gurley in the heart. The NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton claimed that the show was an “accidental discharge.”

According to Gurley’s girlfriend, who was present at the time of the shooting, Liang did not offer to help after Gurley was shot, hence the charges of misconduct. According to NY Daily News, Liang was instead texting his union rep. For six and a half minutes after the shooting, Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau, were incommunicado. The defense argued that Liang was in shock and didn’t feel qualified to perform CPR.

Vertical patrols are highly criticized, even more so since the death of Akai Gurley, due to the split second decisions officers have to make in dark, tight spaces, where visibility is often very low. According to NYCLU Executive Director Donn Lieberman, “There have been long standing concerns about how vertical patrols have been carried out over the years and many complaints of mistreatment of public housing residents.”

The jury, a panel of seven men and five women, deliberated for two days before delivering the verdict. One juror called it a “very hard decision.”

Liang remains free on bail until sentencing on April 14. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
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Re: NYPD Officer Found Guilty of Fatally Shooting Akai Gurle

Postby admin » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:23 pm

NYC Agrees to Pay Over $4 Million to Family of Akai Gurley
by Andrew Emett
August 16, 2016

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After an NYPD officer accidentally killed an innocent, unarmed man inside a dark housing project stairwell, the city and the New York City Housing Authority have recently agreed to pay Akai Gurley’s family more than $4.1 million to settle their wrongful death lawsuit. Although the officer was fired and initially convicted of manslaughter, a judge reduced the charge and sentenced him to community service instead of serving jail time.

On November 20, NYPD officers Peter Liang and Shaun Landau were conducting vertical patrols on the eighth floor of the Louis H. Pink housing project in Brooklyn. Although Deputy Inspector Miguel Iglesias had ordered them not to conduct vertical patrols inside the building, Liang reportedly opened the door accessing 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 claims that he accidentally fired a shot that ricocheted off the wall and into 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 the officers, Gurley staggered down to the fifth floor where he collapsed. 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 upstairs texting their union rep instead of calling in the shooting or offering assistance.

Convicted of manslaughter by a Brooklyn jury, Liang was subsequently fired from the department. After Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun reduced the charge to criminally negligent homicide, Liang was sentenced to 800 hours of community service instead of jail.

In order to settle the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Gurley’s family, Liang has agreed to pay $25,000 to Kimberly Ballinger, the mother of Gurley’s young daughter Akaila. The city will pay $4.1 million, while the New York City Housing Authority has agreed to pay $400,000 to his family.

Last year, the city agreed to pay $5.9 million to the family of Eric Garner after NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo was caught on video placing Garner in a banned chokehold while ignoring his pleas that he could not breathe. Although the city decided to settle the family’s wrongful death lawsuit, Pantaleo currently does not face criminal charges for causing Garner’s death and remains on the force.
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