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DA Recommends No Prison Time for Former NYPD Officer Convicted of Manslaughter in Stairwell Shooting

March 24, 2016  | 

Former NYPD officer Peter Liang during his February trial. (Photo: NY1 screen shot)
Former NYPD officer Peter Liang during his February trial. (Photo: NY1 screen shot)

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson on Wednesday recommended that former NYPD Officer Peter Liang not be sentenced to prison for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man 16 months ago.

Thompson said "justice will be best served if Mr. Liang is sentenced to five years of probation, with the condition that he serves six months of home confinement with electric monitoring and performs 500 hours of community service." 

A jury last month convicted Liang of manslaughter and official misconduct for killing Akai Gurley in an unlit stairwell of the Pink Houses public housing complex in East New York, Brooklyn. 

Liang testified that as he entered the stairwell with his gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other, he was startled by a sound, he tensed up and his gun accidentally discharged. The bullet ricocheted off the wall and struck Gurley, who had just entered the stairwell one floor below, NY1 reports.

Comments (23)

Displaying 1 - 23 of 23

Percy @ 3/24/2016 2:22 PM

Absolutely disgusting.

But do make it a Federal Hate Crime to kill a cop

Amazing this prick who shot and killed an unarmed completely innocent man, then both he & his partner rendered no aid of any kind are getting a walk and is still appealing the conviction. Nice touch that he called his union rep before an ambulance or his supervisor.

Liang testified that as he entered the stairwell with his gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other, he was startled by a sound, he tensed up and "his gun accidentally discharged".

No numb nuts the gun didn't accidently discharge you pulled the trigger.
Sounds like he is trying to blame the gun.

I hope the family wins 10' of millions, sad though that it always comes from the taxpayer and never those who abuse their powers.

I suppose the only reason that "I feared for my life" and "he went for his waistband" weren't used was because it was pitch black.

Or was it simply a case of Graham v. Connor?

When will he back serving & protecting?

Robert @ 3/24/2016 5:16 PM

I said months another fix was in....remember the judge has it ruled on the defense motion to null the verdict....

Chris @ 3/24/2016 5:40 PM

Percy. Really. Is it possible you can ever converse intelligently? ''Prick?'' ''Numb nuts?'' One of the very many problems you appear to have is recognizing an accident and or negligence versus a malicious and or an intentional premeditated act. Yes the officer committed a crime, Manslaughter. Depending on the degree, 1st degree-recklessly causes the death of another or 2nd degree-with criminal negligence causes the death of another.
How much more would you like the officer to suffer? He is now a convicted felon. He cannot vote or own a firearm not to mention trying to find a job. This incident will haunt him the rest of his life. Your obvious extreme bias toward law enforcement and your negative attitude is what is truly your quote, ''Absolutely disgusting.'' Ignorance is an absence of knowledge. Stupidity is an absence of intelligence. It is painfully obvious you do not know the difference.

Percy @ 3/24/2016 6:58 PM

One of the very many problems you appear to have is denial.

You're upset that I call him prick and numb nuts?
Remember he shot and killed an unarmed person and then instead of calling an ambulance or his superior
he called his union rep and let the person die. I'll call him whatever I want!

He is not yet a convicterd felon as even though he is getting a walk he is appealing the conviction.

How much do I want him to suffer?
How about this, as amuch as every single person rotting in jail for possesion of pot. Never being able to vote, get a firearm not to mention finding a job, all for smoking pot, not killing someone. How about that much?

Your assertion that I have an extreme bias against law enforcement is ridiculous.
I simply state opinions you don't share and facts that you refuse to believe.
You have a lot of reading to do before passing judgement on me son.

kevCopAz @ 3/25/2016 7:47 AM

One can have an opinion either way, but really that sort of language is unprofessional (if you are a LEO) and just plain ignorant, this publication should not allow you to comment like that again. This type of conversation adds nothing to the discussion. This is not a place to rant, its a place to comment and have a discussion.

OK then @ 3/25/2016 8:19 AM

I believe the DA is taking the totality of circumstances into account and recommending accordingly. I was surprised when I read this in the local news last night since Thompson is no friend of the Cops.

This morning when I read the local leaders' threats of riots and violence I was not surprised. With the spring here it is the season to rabble rouse.

tedb @ 3/25/2016 9:48 AM

KevCop: From what I have been able to determine, P***y is a Canadian in his late 60's and most likely smokes a bit of dope. He is definitely not an LEO. He appears to be a lonely old man whose doper friends are all in jail or dead and he comes to our pages because he enjoys the camaraderie we offer him. I actually pity him because he is so in need of attention. HOWEVER...if we quit responding to him and ignore his comments, he will eventually have to go elsewhere to find fulfillment for his needs.

GP Cobb @ 3/25/2016 10:15 AM

@tedb: 'Bingo & +1

Leonard @ 3/25/2016 11:17 AM

Obscene decision. Once again this proves there are two systems of justice. One for police where they get qualified immunity, have DA's that act as they're personal defense attorneys, get the absolute minimum is punishment when they are convicted of a crime and then everyone else. The office caused this tragedy. He had no business un-holstering his weapon, had no business with his finger on the trigger, and when it was discovered he shot someone decided to call his union rep rather than provide aid. He was negligent and cared nothing for the life he took. While I certainly don't think he deserves to rot in jail forever, this recommended sentence is a slap on the wrist that is an affront to the family members of the deceased and community. The DA needed to send a message to this officer and any other officer that recklessly handles their weapons and displays a casual disregard for the community they interact.

Clay @ 3/26/2016 2:42 PM

This is just wrong. He shoots an innocent man. He kills an innocent man. First thing he does is call his union rep. Does not render aid. He is found guilty.

He should be in jail. Only a cop could get away with this. I certainly would like to have that "blue privilege" for my family.

Old Valawdog @ 3/27/2016 10:26 AM

The sentence is no different in VA if someone is convicted of DUI manslaughter. If it's a first time DUI, I've seen multiple people have their prisonsentences suspended with the stipulation they serve house arrest, attend VASAP, and typically have their license suspended or revoked for a period of one to three years.

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/28/2016 7:55 PM

Leonard, qualified immunity would have gotten him his job back. All I can say is that this was just a tragic accident. The Police Officer had the best reason in the world for carrying his gun in his hand. The NYC housing projects are some of the most dangerous urban areas in the country. People are routinely killed in there. Its more like a war zone than a city. His gun went off by accident. He should get to keep his job. Period.

Percy @ 3/28/2016 8:57 PM

@Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. aka Recruiter.
So if the rolls were reversed and a frightened occupant had their gun out in the same hallway and shot a cop because he was startled.

1 Would the occupant make it out of the building alive?

2 Would le accept the same excuse and get on with life.

3 Well there is no 3 as 1 or 2 would be answered no.

Robert @ 3/30/2016 8:56 AM

Old VA..I can see your point; but in the past few years I have seen very few cases where a Manslaughter DUI does include some jail time. Maybe 5-10 years ago...but today, 95%+ lead to jail time.

Sher Exp Sgt: It was not an ACCIDENT. The striker spring did not fail; the gun did not fall from a holster and discharge...this was a NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE. IF you have any experience with firearms you know the difference.
There is also a difference in threat level between carrying a gun in your hand..and having your finger on the trigger (inside the trigger guard).
As for getting to keep his job...are you serious!!
He negligently discharges his weapon. Does nothing to see where his bullet went; instead calls the PBA rep to make a cover story. Walks past the guy he shot and renders no aid. Then lies about the entire story...and you think he should still be a LEO!
I thought at one time you made reasonable remarks...but you are the epitome of the Blue Wall of Silence / LEO do no wrong

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/30/2016 9:16 AM

Robert, that shooting was an accident. Contrary to popular belief, guns can go off by mistake. And yes, I'm totally serious about him keeping his job. Like I said, it was an accident. As for the rest of the story that the media concocted, Id believe that you're St. Peter before I'd trust them.

Percy @ 3/30/2016 10:23 AM


You are starting to experience what I was mentioning in my other comment to you.
Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. is just the latest posterboy, for quite a while it was S.S.
There's simply no end to it.

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/30/2016 1:04 PM

Percy, the Thin Blue Line will always be there. People like you will come and go, but we will always be there.

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/30/2016 6:47 PM

The Police are targeted much more than anyone else in those housing projects. Its ten times more dangerous being a Police Officer in the projects than it is being a street cop.

Robert @ 3/30/2016 11:10 PM have lost touch with reality.
Modern firearms do NOT go off by themselves, unless there is physical damage (or you fire a few hundred rounds of full auto and the found cooks off due to heat ). He was not carrying an old 3 screw SAA...this was a modern striker fired handgun, with an extra strong striker spring. The nypd armorer testified the gun was in working condition.
I have shot hundreds of matches and probably 100,000+ rounds of pistol ammunition (including 500 this week preparing for an IDPA qualifier)...and I have never seen or heard anyone tell me a fully functional Glock "accidentally discharged". If you are a LEO you really need some firearms training....because I wouldn't pass you in the instructor led portion (in person) of the basic NRA pistol course.....and I have only failed 2 people...but your attitude would make 3.
The rest of my comments are from the court testimony...aka FACT. Something you have lost sight of.

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/31/2016 8:54 AM

Robert, I'll admit it when I know I'm wrong. I was wrong about the gun going off by itself. However, I still believe that the shooting was a tragic accident, and he should keep his job. But yes, I apologize for writing that stuff.

Robert @ 3/31/2016 10:02 AM

Apology accepted...

Do you want to know why this guy was even convicted? A defense attorney's worst nightmare..the Marie Antoinette syndrome. He wanted to "have his cake and eat it too". He wanted both a criminal and an Administrative review defense at the same time. This is probably why he fired his PBA lawyers....they probably told him it was a poor strategy. Now he is on his 3rd set of lawyers.

He wanted to use the magic gun theory (his finger was not on the trigger)...because he know admitting to having his finger on the trigger, without an active threat, would violate policy...and cost him his job.

So he lied about that...this is why the jury asked to test fire the glock multiple times. In their mind, they were proving him a liar.

Once they made the jump that the LEO was lying ....he lost all credibility with the jury. A jury gives great weight to a LEO, Doctor, etc. However the jury sided with the DA about all of the other evidence; because they felt he lied

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 3/31/2016 3:01 PM

Thanks Robert, just to let you know I'm not a LEO yet because I'm not quite old enough. I'm just a member of my Sheriffs Office youth explorer program, so if I make stupid remarks sometimes it may be because I don't have any LEO experience yet.

Robert @ 4/13/2016 2:22 PM

Why is this guy doing 5 years...and the DA says Liang should do 0?

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