NYC Cop Peter Liang Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Death of Akai Gurley, Faces Up to 15 Years in Prison

Jurors convicted the rookie police officer who fatally shot unarmed Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn housing project stairwell Nov. 20, 2014.

New York City Police Officer Peter Liang is escorted out of court after he was charged with manslaughter, official misconduct and other offenses on Feb. 11, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
New York City Police Officer Peter Liang is escorted out of court after he was charged with manslaughter, official misconduct and other offenses on Feb. 11, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Peter Liang, the rookie New York City police officer who fired into a dark Brooklyn housing project hallway, killing unarmed Akai Gurley on Nov. 20, 2014, has been found guilty of manslaughter. The jury issued the verdict Thursday after three days of deliberations.

According to the New York Daily News, on the day of the shooting, Gurley and his girlfriend Melissa Butler walked into the unlit seventh-floor stairwell in the Pink Houses after they grew tired of waiting for the elevator. Officers Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau, were one floor above the couple on patrol when Liang fired his weapon. The bullet reportedly ricocheted off the wall and hit Gurley in the chest.

“I heard something on my left side … it startled me, [then] the gun just went off,” Liang testified during the trial.

Gurley, a father of a 2-year-old girl, lay dying as his girlfriend attempted to administer CPR and Liang and his partner reportedly argued over who should have to report the incident. Liang eventually called his supervisor on his cellphone instead of calling over the radio, which would have been recorded, the Daily News reports.

Liang and his partner never attempted to administer aid to Gurley, and Liang testified that he “didn’t know if I could do it better than [the girlfriend].” Liang added that he didn’t follow protocol because “I was panicking. I was shocked,” he testified.

Liang is scheduled to be sentenced April 14 and could face up to 15 years in prison, the Daily News reports.

Read more at the New York Daily News.

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