Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NYPD Officer Indicted In Death Of Akai Gurley

Huffington Post

A New York City police officer has been indicted in the shooting death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley on Tuesday.

A bullet fired by rookie officer Peter Liang killed Gurley inside the darkened stairwell of the Louis Pink housing project in East New York, Brooklyn, on Nov. 20. 

Although New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton initially characterized the shooting as an “accidental discharge,” Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced in December that he was convening a grand jury to investigate Gurley’s death.

On the night of Nov. 20, Gurley and his girlfriend, 27-year-old Melissa Butler, left Butler’s seventh-floor apartment inside the housing project. The pair tried to take the elevator but it wasn’t working, so they entered the building’s stairwell. The building’s superintendent had requested that the New York City Housing Authority fix the lights in the stairwell months earlier, but when Gurley and Butler entered, it was still dark. 

Just as they entered the stairwell, two first-year police officers -- Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau -- entered from the eighth floor. The two cops were conducting a “vertical patrol,” in which officers walk the stairs of public housing buildings in an attempt to prevent crime.

According to multiple reports, Liang was carrying his gun in one hand and a flashlight in another, when he opened the door to the stairwell. At that moment, a bullet was fired from Liang’s gun, striking Gurley in the chest. Gurley managed to get down two flights of stairs before collapsing on the fifth floor, where a neighbor called 911 and Butler tried to administer first aid. 

Gurley, who had a 2-year-old daughter, was pronounced dead at the hospital. He had been planning to surprise his mother in Florida for Thanksgiving the following weekend.

According to the Daily News report from December, both a commanding officer and an emergency operator frantically tried to reach Liang and Landau after the 911 call, but the two officers didn’t respond to the calls for six and a half minutes. During that time, according to the paper, Liang was texting his police union representative.


  1. dangerous lawful gun owners

    What the hell does a shooting perpetrated with a police-issued firearm, by a cop on duty, have to do with gun ownership?

    I'm not trying to defend the cop--why the hell he was conducting a routine patrol with his gun already drawn is a question that demands an answer, but the link between this and lawful gun ownership is looking mighty weak.

    1. You gun loons love to parse words and distort, but this gun was a legal gun owner.

    2. No parsing and distortion here Fred. I'm betting that the owner of the firearm was the New York Police Department.
      Kurt brings up a good point in regards to why would you enter a stairwell on what is supposed to be a routine patrol with a drawn weapon. I also wonder about how it can be considered negligent when the NYPD has gone to the trouble of modifying the triggers of their issue side arms to eliminate negligent discharges, making the trigger pull so heavy that it has had a negative effect on accuracy.

    3. So because the gun was issued by NYPD we can't define him as a lawful gun owner? That makes your case that lawful gun owners are not responsible for illegal gun use? Laughable.

    4. Kurt also brough up a stupid point, ss. He disputes my calling this guy a dangerous lawful gun owner because he's a cop, as if cops are another category of their own. They're not. They count as "good guys with guns" and "lawful gun owners."

      Is the technical out, I know Kurt loves those technical and semantic outs, that the department owns the gun and not the cop? That's what would be weak in this whole discussion, if anything.

    5. They count as "good guys with guns" and "lawful gun owners."

      Fine, Mikeb--whatever. He's a "lawful gun owner," whether he owns any guns or not. Got it.

      Actually, this part is of greater interest to me:

      . . . as if cops are another category of their own. They're not.

      So cops and private gun owners are to be considered equivalent, now? So have you told any cops that you want to restrict them to 10-round or smaller magazines? You want to take the AR-15s out of their squad cars and armories? You want Starbucks, Kroger, etc., to tell them to either lose the guns, or stay away?

    6. "So because the gun was issued by NYPD we can't define him as a lawful gun owner?"

      Fred, in the realm of gun control enforcers of the governments' will are routinely exempted from consideration in regards to firearm restrictions. Be it selective fire weapons, magazine size restrictions, or even mandated smart gun use, there always seems to be that statement, except for military or law enforcement.
      I've seen Mike use other tags in regards to improper use of force by the police, that fit far better. So when he tries to equate the misbehavior of a government official performing their duties as somewhat equivilant to a non-government official, I'm going to call him on it.
      As I said earlier, I'm skeptical that it was a negligent discharge, and lean towards him intentionally shooting. And if it wasn't a good shoot, then he should bear the responsibility. In fact, since he is acting as an agent of the government, there should be a higher expectation of proper conduct since he is afforded options and powers that regular citizens don't.
      In the military, there is a chain of command that takes on at least to a degree some responsibility for the actions of their subordinates. Of course, that rarely occurs outside of the military.

    7. Sorry SS, your explanation IS parsing words. I won't accept that he is relieved of his individual actions because he is working for a government entity. And legal cases involving cops and soldiers have not accepted that as an excuse either.

    8. Actually, Fred, the courts have accepted that time after time, sometimes resulting in huge miscarriages of justice. It's the rare exception that officers are held responsible as individuals and usually only happens in the case of Extreme misconduct. Strongly asserting a contrary opinion doesn't change the objective reality of legal precedent--even bad precedent.

    9. World law never accepted the Nazi soldier cry that he was only following orders. American law didn't accept Lt. Cally's excuse either, but it's nice you accept that those cases that do are bad precedent and bad law.

  2. No accusations of racism on this one either Mike?

    Gotta get the Union involved ASAP...As a Union member and an American I find this disturbing

    1. Oh, racism played a part, for sure.