A grand jury has indicted officer Peter Liang for manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley, 28, in the unlit stairwell of a Brooklyn public housing project last November. Gurley, the father of a 2-year-old, had just entered the stairwell landing after 11 p.m. with his girlfriend when Liang, a rookie officer on a routine-but-controversial stairwell patrol, fired his gun. The New York Times reported that Liang fired his gun as he was also turning the door knob to enter the stairwell; drawing weapons during stairwell patrols in public housing is “longtime police practice.”
Gurley’s shooting occurred in the tense days leading up to grand jury decisions in the police killings of two other unarmed black men–Michael Brown in St. Louis and Eric Garner in Staten Island–and helped spark local and national protests. Commissioner William Bratton had described the shooting as, “an unfortunate accident.”
Liang reportedly faces multiple criminal charges and up to 15 years in prison. Grand juries rarely indict police officers. When they do, as FiveThirtyEight reports, police officers typically are not convicted, nor do they serve time.
(h/t NY Daily News)