A Brooklyn judge on Tuesday reduced ex-New York Police Department officer Peter Liang‘s conviction in the death of Akai Gurley, arguing that the rookie officer never intended to kill the unarmed man in 2014, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Brooklyn Judge Danny Chun on Tuesday reduced Liang’s manslaughter charge to criminally negligent homicide, and sentenced him to five years of probation and 800 hours of community service, the Times says. The decision promises to raise howls of protests in a case that has pitted Asian American demonstrators against African-American demonstrators: the victim was Black and the officer is Asian American. Liang was convicted in February.
From the Times:
“Shooting that gun and killing someone was probably the last thing in his mind and probably never entered his mind at all,” Chun said. “This was not an intentional act. … There’s no evidence, either direct or circumstantial, that the defendant was aware of Akai Gurley’s presence.”
Liang originally faced up to 15 years in prison, but a Brooklyn prosecutor requested before Tuesday’s sentencing that Liang receive no jail time.
The case had brought heated emotions from African American activists who wanted accountability for Gurley’s death and from Asian Americans who felt that Liang was being scapegoated because of his Chinese American ancestry.
Liang could have faced up to 15 years in prison, “but a Brooklyn prosecutor requested before Tuesday’s sentencing that Liang receive no jail time,” writes the Times.
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SOURCE: Los Angeles Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty