NYPD cop Peter Liang will not receive jail time for shooting an unarmed Brooklyn man by the name of Akai Gurley, the New York Post reports. The 2014 incident occurred in a stairwell inside the Pink Houses in East New York, and Gurley was just 28 years old.
Liang, who was a rookie cop at the time of the shooting, has been sentenced to five years of probation and 800 hours of community service. He apologized to Gurley’s girlfriend, Melissa Butler, stating that he shot her boyfriend by accident. She responded with the following:
“You took a piece of me, you took a piece of my heart. Akai took his last breath and died in my hands. I’m suffering while you still have your life.”
According to the Post, “Liang and NYPD partner Shaun Landau were performing a vertical patrol in one of the buildings — sweeping it from top to bottom to try to root out crime — when a slamming metal door apparently startled the officer and he pulled the trigger on his service-issued .9mm Glock…The bullet ricocheted off a cinder-block wall and pierced the heart of Gurley, who was on the landing below the cops. Liang and Landau then spent several minutes arguing over who would call in the shooting instead of rushing to Gurley’s aid.”
“Akai Gurley’s life doesn’t matter, black lives don’t matter,” said Gurley’s aunt, Hertencia Petersen, after the verdict. “But justice will be served one way or another.”