It seems a lot of people disagree with the New York City jury that convicted former New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Peter Liang for killing Akai Gurley, an unarmed Black man.

Thousands of protestors gathered in what JusticeForPeterLiang.com says totaled 30+ cities—including New York, Philadelphia and Las Vegas—to protest Liang’s conviction. From the signs to the chants, the prevailing sentiment among the largely Asian-American crowd was that the Chinese-American officer was scapegoated because of his race. Per The New York Times

Supporters of Officer Liang noted the strained relationship between the police and African-Americans across the country, after a string of incidents in which unarmed black men were killed by officers, many of whom were never charged.

Officer Liang, in their view, was the one who had to pay the price. One of the printed announcements for the rally read, “In the wake of so many unfortunate deaths of unarmed black men, some cops gotta hang.” The evidence against Officer Liang, his supporters contend, did not seem as clear-cut compared to the cases of other officers who have not been prosecuted. Some also believed that the gunfire had been an accidental discharge.

“All the policemen have no punishment for all they did,” said Tommy Shi, 30, who lives in Manhattan and works in a restaurant. “Peter Liang is a scapegoat for all this.” He added: “That’s why we stand for Peter Liang.” …

“This movement, this community reaction, it won’t be a Million Man March—it’s not that,” [retired NYPD officer] Mr. Ong said. “It is representative of Asian-Americans willing to take time away from their daily lives, to step up and say we don’t like what’s going on.”

Liang was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, second-degree reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide and official misconduct after he shot into a dark stairwell and pierced 28-year-old Gurley’s heart, then neglected to provide the dying man with medical attention. Liang could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau, were fired shortly after the conviction.

The New York and Las Vegas protest drew an estimated 10,000 participants each, while Philadelphia saw at least 2,000, according to Philly.com. Meanwhile, organizations like the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence pushed back online, and counter-protestors also hit the streets.

 

 

Liang’s sentencing hearing will be on April 14.