Sources: Officer Indicted on Manslaughter Charge in Akai Gurley Case
The rookie officer who shot and killed an unarmed man in a dark stairwell last year has turned himself in.
The officer, Peter Liang, is being arraigned on a number of criminal charges in the case.
Sources say they include second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
Akai Gurley was shot to death in a dark stairwell at the Pink Houses in East New York on November 20.
Investigators say Liang was holding his gun in the same hand he was using to open a door when the gun went off, hitting Gurley, who was unarmed.
The NYPD calls the shooting an accident.
"This is the first step in the fight for justice for this wrongful death," Scott Rynecki, the attorney representing Kimberly Ballinger, who was Gurley's domestic partner, told NY1.
In a statement, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said, "This officer deserves the same due process afforded to anyone involved in the accidental death of another. The fact the he was assigned to patrol one most dangerous housing projects in New York City must be considered among the circumstances of this tragic accident."
Borough President Eric Adams released a statement, saying, “First and foremost, I continue to extend prayers to the family of Akai Gurley, which continues to cope with the terrible tragedy of this fatal shooting. An indictment in this case allows the judicial process to move forward, a process that should be fair and transparent. An indictment helps to restore public confidence in our legal system, a confidence that was thoroughly shaken following the outcome of the Eric Garner case in Staten Island. It is my continued hope that the death of Akai Gurley will give life to much-needed reforms that will make the community and law enforcement alike safer.”
NY1 spoke with some residents about the news.
"Everybody has to pay for their mistakes. And I hope, in the future, maybe they can have some officers here that can be a little community-friendly, instead of being scared," one resident said.
Activists say an indictment is only the first step in the process.
"We got an indictment with Amadou Diallo and we remember what happened there," said Christopher Banks of East New York United Concerned Citizens.
Liang was placed on modified duty after that shooting. He's due in court on Wednesday to answer those charges.