- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 11, 2016

A New York policeman has been found guilty in the shooting death of an unarmed black man in a dark stairwell in a Brooklyn housing project.

The jury convicted Officer Peter Liang of manslaughter Thursday evening after two full days of deliberation over the death of Akai Gurley.

Officer Liang acknowledged shooting Gurley, but said he discharged his weapon inadvertently after being startled by a noise. Prosecutors said he was reckless and did not do all he could to get assistance for Gurley as he lay dying, instead trying to save his own skin from liability.

When he is sentenced April 14, Officer Liang could be imprisoned for up to 15 years.

Besides manslaughter, Officer Liang also was convicted on charges of assault, reckless endangerment and official misconduct.

Officer Liang is the first NYPD policeman to be convicted of homicide charges in the shooting of a civilian since 2005, and the conviction suggests that public opinion has shifted on police shootings in the past year.

Officer Liang shot Gurley in November 2014, just a few months after the Eric Garner choke death and high-profile shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, and Cleveland galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.

The rookie officer insisted he didn’t think his bullet had hit anyone, which was why he and his partner, Shaun Landau, bickered over bureaucratic matters over who should file a report and how while Gurley died.

The two were in a “vertical patrol” in the Pink Houses public-housing project in Brooklyn.



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