Updated on 2/24/2015 at 3:30pm.
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Thursday, February 12th, 2015. New York City – Rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang was indicted on Tuesday, February 10th by a Brooklyn grand jury for the killing of Akai Gurley on November 20th, 2014 in the Pink Houses projects in the neighborhood of East New York, Brooklyn.
On Wednesday, February 11th, after officer Liang’s arraignment, Kimberly Ballinger, Akai Gurley’s partner and mother to his child, her attorney Scott Rynecki, Akai’s aunt, Hertencia Petersen and activists held a press conference outside Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson’s office.
“As a result of the reckless actions of Police Officer Peter Liang, there is now a two-year-old girl who goes to sleep every night without her father kissing her good night. As a result of the reckless actions of Police Officer Peter Liang, Kimberly Ballinger is now a single mother. Had they had acted in an appropriate and quick-response manner, would Akai Gurley still be with us today?,” Mr. Rynecki said.
He added, “It is now incumbent upon the city of New York, the New York City Police Department, to undertake a full review of their policies and procedures and training, both in the academy and after the academy, so that this event, this type of matter does not occur again. It must be prevented.”
Akai Gurley’s partner calls for a jury to find NYPD Officer Peter Liang guilty of manslaughter.
Ms. Ballinger said, “This is just the first step in justice. Now all we need is a conviction, which I have faith we will get.”
Ms. Hertencia said, “He did not follow orders! So because of his not following orders, my nephew is no longer here! My nephew has been murdered! My nephew is dead! But Peter Liang can come and go as he please, on his own reconnaisance! Where is the justice?” she demanded, alluding to reports that Mr. Liang discharged his weapon in the dark corridor in terror.
“If you’re afraid, then you should not be in that position. If you’re afraid, you should not have been in that stairwell. Murderer! Murderer! Murderer! That’s what it is: modern-day lynching murderer. Being protected by the law. But like I said, I have faith, my family has faith, that we will prevail!”
She added, “My nephew’s life is sacrificial. Now changes will occur. You can bet on that! We will prevail. Justice will be served for Akai Gurley. Remember that name!”
Liang, pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment in the shooting death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley last year. He was released without bail.
Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner read out the charges: manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide, assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree, and two counts of official misconduct.
Indictments are not convictions.
The top count of the indictment carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Statement of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson Regarding Indictment of New York City Police Officer Peter Liang For The Death Of Akai Gurley.
“Shortly after the tragic death of Akai Gurley in a stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn, I promised to conduct a full and fair investigation to get to the bottom of what happened that night. I can now report that the District Attorney’s Office has completed a thorough investigation into this matter.
Our investigation was led by veteran prosecutors, Marc J. Fliedner, Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau and Joseph Alexis, Chief of the Red Zone Trial Bureau, and Ann Bordley, Senior Appellate Counsel, of the Appeals Bureau.
As a result of the investigation a grand jury has returned a six-count indictment charging New York City Police Department Officer Peter Liang with one count of second-degree manslaughter, one count of criminally negligent homicide, one count of second-degree assault, one count of reckless endangerment and two counts of official misconduct.
Officer Liang was arraigned earlier this afternoon before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun and released without bail. The top count of the indictment carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.
NYPD Officers bravely put their lives on the line every day in service to New York. At no time was this more evident than when several officers responded to a shooting at the Pink Houses. As they always do, Officers rushed in 2724 Linden Boulevard to assist. When the Officers saw Mr. Gurley, they immediately dropped to their knees and attempted to render aid to save Mr. Gurley’s life.
In addition to Assistant District Attorneys Fliedner and Alexis, I extend my gratitude to all of the other Assistant District Attorneys and Detective Investigators on my staff who worked so hard on this case so that the judicial process could be conducted fairly. I am also grateful for the invaluable assistance provided by the the New York City Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office.”
“Peter Liang, the first New York City police officer indicted in more than two years in connection with a fatal on-duty encounter, was arraigned Wednesday in the shooting last November of Akai Gurley, an unarmed man walking in a Brooklyn housing project. The six-count indictment includes several felony charges, including second-degree manslaughter.”_The New York Times
Read the Indictment of Officer Peter Liang in the death of Akai Gurley on The New York Times.
Statement on Peter Liang Indictment.
February 11, 2015 at 7:46pm
“On February 10, 2015, A Brooklyn grand jury made the decision that NYPD Officer Peter Liang will face charges for the November 2014 fatal shooting of Akai Gurley.
We recognize Officer Liang’s indictment as a step toward the right direction in attaining Justice for Akai Gurley. This indictment comes from the resiliency and fortitude of the mass mobilization of our communities in New York City and across the nation. We took to the streets and remained vigilant, committed to seeking an indictment and undeterred in our efforts to not let Akai’s murder go in vain. We will continue to fight for Akai Gurley, our loved ones, and members of our community who are being murdered and brutalized by law enforcement here in New York City and across the United States.
Officer Liang is but one individual within a larger and problematic criminal injustice system that permits for the reoccurring charges of police murder, abuse of power, hostility, discrimination, harassment, and violence toward our fathers, sons, daughters and mothers. We will hold Officer Liang accountable, as well as, the three branches of government locally to nationally that legislate and craft conditions that sanction violence toward our communities.
Every 28 hours a police officer, security guard or vigilante murders a Black person in the United States. For the last 15 years there have been 179 NYPD –related killings and only 3 indictments of officers. We thank the Brooklyn DA, Ken Thompson, for doing his part because standing up to corruption and going against the grain is not easy.
The announcement of Peter Liang’s indictment allowed for a slight pause, to breathe, and to ground ourselves spiritually, which is needed for the long road ahead in attaining justice beyond a conviction. We recognize that justice lies beyond an individual conviction and must include removing the failed policies of “generating revenues” from our repressed communities.
Policies such as, the Broken Windows paramilitary policing methods of urban development and its proponents like Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Pat Lynch must go. Their fear mongering tactics and persistent criminalization of our community will not stop our mobilization for justice.
Akai Gurley’s murder and the murders of countless men, women, boys and girls that have tragically lost their lives, as a result of a militarized police force and a neglectful government, will not be in vain.”
Organizers for Akai Gurley
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Video by CBS New York.
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