When rookie police Officer Peter Liang shot and killed 28-year-old Akai Gurley in a dark stairwell in the New York City borough of Brooklyn last Thursday, he displayed “bad tactics,” a high-ranking police source told the New York Daily News.
According to the source, Liang’s Glock 9 mm pistol should have been holstered, although unsnapped and ready to be drawn—not in his hand, as has been reported, when he entered the stairwell that fateful night.
The fact that the gun was not holstered, as well as Liang’s lack of “heart,” was the problem, the source told the Daily News.
“You can teach tactics all day every day, but you can’t teach heart. If you’re scared, no tactic in the world is going to change what you do. If you don’t have heart, tactics aren’t going to matter,” the source said, adding that Liang was most likely startled when he bumped into Gurley. “The cop probably had his finger on the trigger and flinched.
“He’s going to get fired,” the source added.
Officials are using the tragic moment to encourage reform in the New York City Police Department, the Daily News notes.
According to the report, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who is also a former cop, is pressing for the department to pair up more rookies with veterans. Adams also called for Liang to resign, even if he is acquitted of the shooting.
“I don’t believe there is an exoneration for taking away an innocent life,” Adams told the Daily News.
New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries also blasted the rookie, who joined the Police Department last year. “This death appears to me to be unprovoked, unnecessary and unjust. And the community is sick and tired of being sick and tired of these types of violence,” he said.
Read more at the New York Daily News.