Akai Gurley’s surviving family is outraged that Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson recommended ex-cop Peter Liang’s punishment consist of 500 hours of community service, five years of probation and six months of home confinement. The Gurley family was even more distraught Thompson didn’t tell them prior to, and learned of the potential sentencing via the media.
“I call it a modern-day lynching,” Gurley’s aunt Hertencia Petersen told The New York Daily News. “It’s like killing Akai over and over again.”
Liang was convicted of manslaughter in the November 2014 shooting of Gurley which took place in a darkened Pink Houses stairwell in East New York. Liang was immediately fired from the police force following his February 11 conviction, and faces up to 15 years in prison at his April 14 sentencing.
“His blood is on Ken Thompson’s hands, on Peter Liang’s hands. His blood is on the entire justice system’s hands,” Petersen said.
In Thompson’s letter to Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, Thompson argues Liang poses no threat to the public and should not face jail time.
“The incarceration of the defendant is not necessary to protect the public, and because of the unique circumstances of this case, the People do not believe that a prison sentence is warranted,” Thompson wrote.
He goes onto say there are circumstances that favor why Liang should receive probation and not jail time. The fact that Liang was a rookie with less than a year worth of experience on the street, the fact that the stairwell where Akai Gurley was killed was also darkened and proof Liang had no intention of killing the 28 year old after the bullet he fired ricocheted off the wall piercing his chest.