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Indicted Cop Said To Have Debated Reporting Akai Gurley’s Fatal Shooting


02.12.15 Prachi Gupta

Officer Peter Liang, the rookie cop who was indicted for six charges in the fatal shooting of East New York man Akai Gurley, apparently debated not reporting the incident for four minutes. It had previously been reported that the officer — who was performing a vertical patrol of the Pink Houses when he fired his gun and hit an unarmed Gurley in a darkened stairwell — first reached out to his union rep and failed to answer his radio for six minutes as Gurley lay dying. That he perseverated for four minutes is a new insight presented by the prosecution in his court case.

According to the New York Times, it is the “most detailed account yet of what investigators believe happened inside 2724 Linden Boulevard on the night of Nov. 20.” From Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson:

After backing out of the stairwell, the officers argued over whether to call in the gunshot; Officer Liang “refused,” Mr. Thompson said. Mr. Thompson did not offer evidence that Officer Liang and his partner, Officer Shaun Landau, immediately realized that someone had been struck. But he suggested they should have suspected as much, having heard the footsteps of Mr. Gurley and a companion, Melissa Butler, as they fled.

Once they stopped arguing and went downstairs, rather than giving Mr. Gurley medical aid or calling an ambulance, said Marc J. Fliedner, the chief of the district attorney’s civil rights division, Officer Liang “just stood there.”

Thompson also insinuated that the gunshot was not accidental, as the NYPD has characterized it. “In order to fire the gun, you need a certain amount of pressure to put on the gun,” he said. Liang’s gun fired as he was opening a door with the same hand.

Liang is the first New York City cop to be indicted “in more than two years in connection with a fatal on-duty encounter,” the Times reports. He faces three felony charges, including second-degree manslaughter, and three misdemeanor charges. Liang initially pled “not guilty,” and after the indictment he turned himself in on Wednesday.

(Photo: Brian Blakely)