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NYPD Cop Peter Liang Convicted For Murdering Unarmed Black Man Akai Gurley

NYPD Cop Peter Liang Convicted For Murdering Unarmed Black Man Akai Gurley

Liang’s indictment last year came weeks after a grand jury declined to charge another white New York officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man, sparking citywide protests.

Thompson said the case had no connection to the ongoing political debate over police tactics.

“This officer was indicted not because of what is happening elsewhere in the country but because of what happened in that stairwell,” he said. “This conviction is not a conviction of the entire NYPD.”

But Patrick Lynch, the president of the city’s largest police union, said in a statement that the verdict “will have a chilling effect on police officers across the city because it criminalizes a tragic accident.”

Liang was also convicted of official misconduct for failing to offer medical aid to the dying Gurley. His lawyers had argued he was in a state of shock and felt unqualified to perform CPR due to inadequate police training.

Shaun Landau, his partner, who testified at trial under an immunity agreement, said Liang broke down in tears after realizing he had shot someone.

He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in April. The jury, which was largely white, reached its verdict after more than two days of deliberations.

As the trial concluded on Tuesday, prosecutors offered jurors a new and more damning account of the incident, claiming for the first time that Liang aimed a shot on purpose toward the sound he heard.

“I think it’s clear to you that he knew someone was there,” Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis told jurors in his closing argument, adding that the shooting was “no accident.”

Liang’s lawyers said the shooting was a “million-to-one” occurrence, calling it a tragic accident that nevertheless did not amount to a crime.

They also emphasized the dangers of so-called “vertical patrols,” a point that was underscored when two officers were shot this month when conducting a similar patrol in a Bronx public housing building.