The New York City police officer who shot and killed a man in a dark stairwell last November, leaving him to die as he contacted his union rep, was indicted today by a grand jury on manslaughter charges.
Peter Liang, a rookie cop, faces up to 15 years in prison for the death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley, who was walking down the stairs with his girlfriend.
Liang claimed it was an “accidental discharge,” unable to use the old “feared for my life” justification because Gurley’s girlfriend was an eye witness.
Liang was walking down the stairs with his gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other in what they call “vertical patrol,” which they claim will prevent crime.
However, it later emerged that a commander told them not to do vertical patrols.
In the ensuing minutes after the shooting, Liang and his partner did not respond to dispatchers, who had received a 911 call about the shooting.
Instead, they texted their union reps.
Meanwhile, Gurley slowly died.
According to the New York Daily News:
A source said Liang was indicted for a top count second-degree manslaughter, which means he acted recklessly, among other charges.
Liang discharged one bullet when patrolling the stairways of the Pink Houses in East New York, striking Gurley in the chest as the man stood in the landing a floor below.
The News reported that Liang and his partner did not answer the radio in the six-plus minutes right after the shooting and instead texted their union reps.
Right after rookie cop Peter Liang discharged a single bullet that struck Gurley, 28, he and his partner Shaun Landau were incommunicado for more than six and a half minutes, sources said Thursday.
And from another New York Daily News article in December:
In the critical moments after the Nov. 20 shooting, the cops’ commanding officer and an emergency operator — responding to a 911 call from a neighbor and knowing the duo was in the area — tried to reach them in vain, sources said.
“That’s showing negligence,” said a law enforcement source of the pair’s decision to text their union rep before making a radio call for help.
“The guy is dying and you still haven’t called it in?”
Gurley, who leaves behind two children, was planning on surprising his mother and sister in Florida for the holidays.