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The Call Blog: Rookie Cop Shoots And Kills Unarmed "Total Innocent"

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Two rookie cops. No hallway lights. One innocent person dead. Several lives destroyed. Tragic all around.



A probationary police officer with less than 18 months on the job shot and killed an unarmed 28-year-old man inside NYCHA's Louis Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn last night. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the victim, Akai Gurley, was a "total innocent" who was "not engaged in any activity other than trying to walk down the stairs." Mayor de Blasio called the shooting a "tragedy."

Around 11 p.m., police say Officer Peter Liang and his partner were patrolling the building and entered a stairwell where the lights were not working. Liang took out his flashlight and drew his weapon. Around the same time a flight below, Gurley and his girlfriend were walking when a single shot was fired. Liang has been stripped of his gun and badge during the investigation.

What's your reaction to the shooting death of Akai Gurley? What question do you want answered in this investigation? From your experience, how common is it for the lights to be out in public housing stairwells and hallways? Should Commissioner Bratton reconsider using rookie cops to patrol high-crime NYCHA developments?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



I live in williamsburg houses and have two sons. I live on the 4th floor and when we do see police officers patrol the stairway coming down from the roof I have NEVER seen them with a gun in their hand. What happened in pink houses is unacceptable. Now NYCHA repairs the lighting? how stupid do they look?? If this wasn't so tragic it could b comical! NYCHA absolutely bears the brunt of this tragedy. My heart felt prayers r with the family and the PINK HOUSES family <3

Anonymous



Rookie officer or seasoned officer too many innocent people of color are being killed for no reason and none of them are being held accountable. And, how are officers going to patrol stairwells where lights have been out for weeks and didn't report it and demand lights be repaired for their safety also. But I still say the police are shooting randomly too much in our community.

Denise
Manhattan



Something is wrong with public housing. Let me ask you would you, john, walk unprotected in a housing project? I contend not. There are too many criminals in public housing. Yes this may be tragic. But does the victim have a record? Residents create a horrible environment that makes accidents like this unavoidable. Yes horrible but these projects are horrible places largely due to the people that live there.

Len from Yorkville.



I WORK AS A SPAA WITH THE NYPD. HEAR THIS WHY ISN'T ANYONE BLAMING THE REAL PROBLEM NYCHA NYC HOUSING. REALLY I LIVE IN THE PROJECTS. HOUSING FAILS BIG TIME NO THEY DON'T MAINTAIN THE HALL WAYS, NO THEY DON'T HAVE CAMERAS, NO THEY DON'T FIX THE ELEVATORS. NO THEY DON'T GET RID OF BAD TENANTS THEY ARE LAZY DON'T DO THEIR JOBS. IF ANYTHING THE GURLEY FAMILY SHOULD SUE HOUSING AUTHORITY. THEY ARE VERY BAD LANDLORDS. ASK FOR REPAIRS WAIT FOR YEARS. THE WORKERS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO MAKE REPAIRS OFTEN WANT TO JUST HANG OUT IN PEOPLE'S APARMTNENTS. THE DRUG DEALERS RUN THE BUILDINGS IT IS THE FAILURE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK NOT JUST THE COPS. I STAYED HOME FROM WORK FOR A REPLACEMENT OF MY OVEN AND NO ONE SHOWED UP. THEN THEY LIED AND SAID THEY KNOCKED ON MY DOOR AND i WASN'T HOME. THIS IS GOING ON EVERY SINGLE DAY.

sabra



People should live in a project for 1 week just to see how some tenants react when they see cops coming in for any reason ,,, they been called by names and nasty word such as get that H of here MF ... They have no education.... You don't see that in other neighborhood.

Ruanny from sunset park



Blame the city and NYCHA for not having proper lighting and security cameras in that building. I thought our mayor was going to fix this problem. What is he waiting for? I feel sorry for both the victim and the officer.

Steve
Forest Hills



My name is Ed and I live in Brooklyn I served many years in the NYCPD retiring with the rank of captain. During my dozen or so years serving as a captain I investigated numerous shootings including accidental shootings. I can honestly say that these investigations are intense, thorough and objective. Too criticize the tentative conclusion that this shooting was accidental before all the facts are in is rush to judgement that happens all too often.

Your caller Anthony who is demanding the officer be jailed before the investigation is complete is obviously a full-blown cop hater. Let him try patrolling high crime areas like I did and then interview him, again. Too many cop haters call in to your program. Lets hear from the other side for balance.



I agree with the caller from Maspeth, who works in Bushwick and sees the biased treatment of blacks vs whites. He comment faces reality.

For many blacks in the city, it’s like living in some kind of dictatorship society, where their lives are worth less than whites, and they are disrespected by cops. For years our pious officials approved of blacks in their own n.hood being constantly watched, challenged, stopped, searched, and whites never even saw this b/c they live in SEPARATE NEIGHBORHOODS! THIS IS THE KEY.

Officialdom makes excuses. Seems we can expect regular killings of blacks without cause. NY1’s The Call will keep having this subject matter to use for it’s show.
When is the Eric Garner case investigation going to come out????

Merediith, Upper West Side



When will the Mayor/NYPD ever get it? When there is no accountability for officers esp. when it results in the homicide of an unarmed civilian, you would think that they would be rigorously reviewing and revising psychological assessment guidelines for new recruits. We are finding out everyday many cops are unsuited for police work., as demonstrated by this fatal action of rookie police officer...

Ken
Harlem.



Look at a list of how many innocent black men have been shot by police in the last 14 years and see if any cops have ever gone to jail. The fact is that politicians need cops on their side. DA's also need cops on their side. If the mayor ever lost the trust of the police he would be done. That goes for any mayor. As long as this is the case these events will continue will continue to happen without any accountability for the shooter.

John from Cobble Hill



One time when I was in my neighborhood, I saw five police officers apprehend one man, who had his face on the ground, and it was in broad daylight with a lot of people. I asked myself, "Did you need that many officers at one time to apprehend one unarmed man who had his face on the ground?"

What are they doing putting two rookie officers together? Doesn't it make sense to pair veteran officers with rookie officers?

Flora
Washington Heights



Can we stop screaming racism and playing the part of the victims? How many "White" people live in NYCHA houses compared to African Americans? Would the people in NYCHA homes be happier or satisfied if only African American police entered and patrolled public housing? My thoughts go out to the family of the victim for what looks like a terrible simple tragedy.

George from Brooklyn



We need to have these cops accountable for there actions. When is the killing of innocent individuals going to stop? The mayor needs to put a stop to this. As an upstanding citizen I feel unsafe walking in my neighbor, not in fear of the criminals but the police officers. Let's stop the senseless killing. Our actions has to have consequences with or without a badge.

Ayana from Bed Stuyvesant



I agree that the shooting is a great tragedy, but why do people immediately cry foul and racism when a police officer shoots a person of color? Why don't they express the same outrage when a person of color shoots another person of color? Let's all do our part to clean up the neighborhoods and not beat up on those who risk their lives to protect us.

Ken
Staten Island



We should take white police officers out of African American neighborhoods so they won't be constantly be accused of racism.

Angela
Bay Ridge Brooklyn



Good evening John & NY1 staff.

Here we are again with another out of control NYPD officer. This is very sad and disturbing. Bratton, why is this still occuring??? How many more men have to be murdered in NYC??

Nowal,
Financial Dist.



Why is it's up to cops to tell if they require their guns out while patrolling?? That's the problem right their! They are given too much power and freedom to take a innocent life. There should be set standards that they can not breach unless theirs extra special circumstances (not poor lighting)! Don't these officers have other weapons to utilize? Why is their guns always weapons of choice and why couldn't they tazzer this person instead? And why a lethal shot to the chest? Why does this seem to only occur in minority communities involving minority victims? As always, this is a race issue. Would this officer had discharged his weapon if he was approached by a Caucasian, or Asian individual? This is just another example of how the NYPD values the lives of African American men within NYC communities. If these officers are so afraid to patrol these areas, they need to consider recruiting from within these neighborhoods instead of having these individuals who are obviously so unfamiliar with these neighborhoods and so disconnected from the community and the citizens in which they are supposed to serve. These officers work for us, to protect and serve, not to shot and kill! Time to make a change!!

T from Bklyn



How is this shooting being called racist when the police officer was clearly startled and shot accidentally. He didn't go hunting for a black kid. Not saying what the police officer did was right, he shouldn't have had his gun out but let's not call it something it's not. This wasn't racism. It was a terrible accident.

Christine
Bay ridge



Was the rookie with another rookie? If so that's wrong you can't learn the streets from another rookie and The NYPD is at fault not the rookie . Police Officers don't go to work with the intention of shooting someone.

Frank
Ozone Park



Dear Mr. John Schiumo:

Rookie cops should never be used in any high crime areas where they do not have the knowledge of the layout of the areas that they are patrolling. I have spoken about this time and again that "beat" cops should be brought back simply for the fact that they would know their neighborhood beat where they are walking and the people who reside there. This is very simple to do. You have some police officer who walks a regular beat and knows the people who live there and those who do not. The use of regular patrol beats is necessary to help build police and neighborhood relations.

Sincerely,
Gary
Flushing, Queens



Both officers should be suspended without pay as the hallway was sufficiently lit with their flashlights. This is a crime and they should be treated as co-defendants as niether of the two identified themselves as police and left the scene.

Ingrid from Brooklyn



Look at a list of how many innocent black men have been shot by police in the last 14 years and see if any cops have ever gone to jail. The fact is that politicians need cops on their side. DA's also need cops on their side. If the mayor ever lost the trust of the police he would be done. That goes for any mayor. As long as this is the case this will continue to happen.

John from Cobble Hill



Hi John,

Perhaps the police commissioner should keep his commanders on patrol supervising officers instead of taking them to the Mark Twain house for 2 days. (Making spaghetti figurines ????).

Kate
Midtown



Hi, an other brutal unjustified police shooting, what kind of dirty lie Pat Lynch will say, other then “tragedy” lid or not lid stairways the murderer cop had a flashlights lit and still killed an innocent man, shame Di Blassio, Bratton and Lynch they all should be criminaly held liable,

Joco from Sunnyside



Hi John,

Commisoner Bratton shouldn't use rookie cops in high crime areas in NYCHA developments he should only use the veterans because they know the layout of the buildings. The super should make sure the lights are working in the elevators stairwells and other places that people go in the buildings so peoplke will feel safe especially the elderly and the kids. The officer that killed Mr Gurley should be suspended.

Herman
UWS



Hi John,

I'm curious to know whether his partner was also a rookie. In any case I wonder why rookies would even be considered for such a high crime area. What were they doing on a stairway in a project at 11:00 pm at night. This Akai Gurley could have been up to something at that time of night and also did he or his girlfriend live in that housing complex.

Did the officer tell the victim to halt and then proceed with the stop question and
frisk. It could also have happened the other way around. Also was the officer on patrol
in that stairwell by himself. Was his partner with him or was he alone. Of course it's a sad situation. As far as the lights being out in public housing stairways and hallways according to the tenants that have called in on this subject before it is a common thing and we can also include the locks on the front and back doors and broken elevators.

Seems as though there are more questions than answers to this incident.

Thank you John,
maxxiee
mp



John,

Just because it's dark a cop should pull out his weapon? Should he then shoot someone for no reason? This cop should be locked up for life.

Joe
Port Richmond, SI



As an American citizen, I completely agree with the plan for president Obama. But is up to the beneficiaries of that reform to take advantage of it and start the process immediately to become real American Citizens. And YES finally President Obama has to do what others don't do. If others refuse to do the homework, I guess the only way to pass it and make it happen is to take executive actions. After all he has not done it as many as president Bush did to put us all under that catastrophe. If is for the human act, so hopefully someone can finally understand what WE THE PEOPLE stand for and make it count. President Obama always have my vote on that executive actions.

Alberto from NY.

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