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NYPD Officer Indicted in Killing of Akai Gurley

NYPD Officer Indicted in Killing of Akai Gurley

A rookie NYPD officer will face criminal charges for the fatal shooting of an innocent man in a Brooklyn housing project, law enforcement sources said Tuesday.

Police Officer Peter Liang fired his service revolver in the unlit stairwell of an East New York apartment building Nov. 20 during a routine patrol, killing unarmed father-of-two Akai Gurley, 28.

Liang was indicted on second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault, reckless endangerment, and two counts of official misconduct.

Liang is expected to surrender Wednesday afternoon and he’ll be arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court, sources said.

The top charge of manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars.

The 27-year-old cop did not testify before the grand jury, which was convened last week, but Gurley’s domestic partner and a woman who was in the stairwell with him when he was shot both took the stand, a law-enforcement source said.

A source close to Liang said the rookie was “shaken up” by news of the indictments.

“No one thought it would go down this road,” said the source.

Liang, who had his gun in his left hand and flashlight in his right, has said the gun accidentally went off when he opened a stairwell door with the same hand he held the gun in.

He declined to speak to a Post reporter outside his Brooklyn home Tuesday afternoon.

A neighbor said Liang has practically been a recluse since the shooting. “I’ve been very worried about him. He’s been inside every day since the accident. Normally I see him out here helping people and doing stuff and he just hasn’t been coming out of his house at all,” the woman said.

Gurley’s sister, meanwhile, posted a triumphant note on her Facebook page.

“I Told Y’all! Now You Get What You Deserve for Your “ACCIDENT”. Now My Big Brother Can Rest In Peace,” wrote Akisha Pringle, adding hash tags #wegotjustice and #mybigbro.

Gurley’s common-law wife, Kimberly Ballinger, also welcomed Liang’s indictment.

“I am happy. I have faith in the Brooklyn district attorney and I thank him,” said Ballinger, who plans to sue the city for $50 million over Gurley’s death. Gurley has a 2-year-old daughter with Ballinger, Akaila, and helped raise Ballinger’s 5-year-old daughter, Kamiya, who he considered a stepdaughter.

Gurley’s death was ruled a “homicide” by the Medical Examiner’s office.

He was not armed and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called Gurley “total innocent,” after the shooting.

In response to the indictment, the police union put out a statement in support of Liang.

“This officer deserves the same due process afforded to anyone involved in the accidental death of another. The fact the he was assigned to patrol one most dangerous housing projects in New York City must be considered among the circumstances of this tragic accident,” said PBA president Patrick J. Lynch.

Liang attorney Stephen Worth and a spokeswoman for Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson declined to comment.

Source:
New York Post

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