In recent weeks, national media has circled around the sentencing of an NYPD officer who shot and killed an unarmed man in a pubic housing stairwell. According to a report released Tuesday, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun sentenced the rookie officer to probation and 800 hours of community service.
The accidental shooting occurred on November 20, 2014 when a man named Akai Gurley entered an unlit stairwell that was being patrolled by Liang and another officer. In what was labeled as an accidental discharge, Gurley was shot in the chest and died after being rushed to the hospital. On February 10, 2015, Liang was indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter, assault and various other criminal charges as the media swarmed.
“My office vigorously prosecuted Peter Liang for manslaughter because the evidence established that his conduct was criminal and the rule of law demanded that he be held accountable for his actions in taking Akai Gurley’s life,” said Brooklyn’s Discrict Attorney Kenneth Thompson
Although Liang consistently stated that the discharge was accidental, prosecutors argued that Liang fired in the direction of the sound he heard, which was Gurley and his girlfriend as they entered the stairwell. Once Liang and his partner found Gurley injured and bleeding to death, neither performed CPR.
“This was a negligent act,” the judge said at sentencing on Tuesday. “Given the defendant’s background and how remorseful he is, it is not necessary to incarcerate him.”