Convicted Murderer Peter Liang Gets No Jail Time For Killing Akai Gurley

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Photo: (Left) AP, (right) Facebook

Peter Liang is the former New York rookie cop who killed Akai Gurley in a stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project.  Akai was unarmed.  He was doing no wrong; committing no crime.

On February 11, 2016, a jury returned a guilty verdict, convicting Liang of manslaughter.  He faced a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.

At his sentencing hearing, Liang apologized to Akai’s girlfriend who is the mother of Akai’s daughter, saying, “I’m not a man of many words.  The shot was an accident.”

Today, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun sentenced Liang to five years probation and 800 hours of community service for the death of 28-year-old dad Akai Gurley — after reducing the charge against the cop.

The New York Post reports that Judge Chun changed the charge from manslaughter to  criminally negligent homicide. Judge Chun stated;

“As I watched the video of the defendant entering the lobby of the Pink Houses, I couldn’t help but feel he was entering with the serious mind of protecting the people.  Shooting somebody never entered his mind. This was not an intentional act. This was an act of criminal negligence.”

It was not a bench trial, but a trial by jury. Judge Chun was not the jury.  Judge Chun was not defense counsel.

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Judge Danny Chun

Judge Chun’s sentencing decision was not completely independent.  Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson introduced it.  Today, court observers were surprised that DA Thompson didn’t bother to show up for the sentencing hearing.

 

This is what America is now being told about the justice system — a District or State’s Attorney can prosecute a case and get a guilty verdict, then recommend to the judge that the convicted murderer not serve prison time.  The judge can then reduce the crime to one that the jury did not decide based on the evidence at trial, and do so to issue a no prison time sentence.   There’s no chance of an appeal because the State is the party who recommended no prison sentence.

For decades, activists and advocates have cried out that regardless of laws, procedures and standards, those in authority have ways of circumventing them all to get the result they want.   Citizens of New York can now thank state legislatures for their hard work passing laws that are nothing more than a blank piece of paper.

 

 

Posted on 04/19/2016, in Cases, Trial Videos and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 62 Comments.

  1. Had Akai shot officer Liang accidentally, I doubt the verdict and sentence would have been the same. I think we all saw this coming.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Mindyme,
      Absolutely! Prosecutors would have gone back to see if he didn’t share his candy in kindergarten in order to paint him as a menace to society who deserved the maximum sentence.

      Liang killed Akai by mistake, but the law of the state of NY says that his conviction requires a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison. Laing exercised his constitutional right to a jury of his peers. The judge threw that out of the window. Why did they waste the time of jurors?

      Liked by 4 people

      • And some wonder why folks may have less sympathy when one of theirs is killed.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Mindmyme,
          You are on a roll! The Chinese-American community protested against the arrest and conviction of Liang. A spokesperson said it’s because he is the first NY police officer to be charged in 10 years. Thus, they see it in the sense that Liang was prosecuted because of his race, because White officers who kill unarmed Blacks are not charged. While I can understand their side, two wrongs doesn’t make what Liang did right.

          Those White officers who were not prosecuted didn’t face a jury of their peers where the law was applied. For that reason, there simply was no law to apply. Liang’s case is different. He faced a jury of his peers. Based on the evidence, they found him guilty of manslaughter. For the prosecutor to pursue that conviction, then recommend that the court issue no sentence according to the law, is an insult to our judicial system. For the judge to reduce the charge in order to satisfy the prosecutor is a miscarriage of justice.

          How many people are sitting behind bars after being convicted of accidentally killing another human being? They are not so privileged to getting their charge reduced without filing an appeal, and waiting on an appellate court’s decision.

          Liked by 5 people

      • roderick2012

        Xena:…….Absolutely! Prosecutors would have gone back to see if he didn’t share his candy in kindergarten in order to paint him as a menace to society who deserved the maximum sentence.

        Speaking of kindergarten—-

        Small Black Children Arrest By Police in TN for Failing to Break Up a Schoolyard Fight

        https://btx3.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/small-black-children-arrest-by-police-in-tn-for-failing-to-break-up-a-schoolyard-fight/

        Liked by 2 people

        • Just to think Roderick, there are some who believe that arresting kids who have broken no law will instill respect in them for law enforcement. It’s an oppressive system that does just the opposite.

          Like

  2. Just unbelievable, this is not justice!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hey Ladylove!
      I’m stuck in a realm where I respect the law even when I disagree with it. Thus, I tend to look at cases based on the law and legal procedures. It’s always been my understanding that if the convicted have a legal basis to disagree with a verdict and/or sentencing, that they exercise their option by filing an appeal. This is the first case that I know of where the prosecutor acted as a Court of Appeals.

      There’s this body called legislatures, and a document called the constitution; the law of the land.

      Judge Chun just peed on them both.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. NavyDad0007

    I’m saddened By this. But I’m not shocked. I’m angered by this.

    Liked by 4 people

    • NavyDad,
      I’m afraid. I’m afraid that judges nationwide will follow this example and create another form of exoneration. I’m afraid that trial court judges will step-on the jurisdiction of appellate courts. I’m afraid that even more prosecutors will give a show to citizens and jurors, then recommend to judges that the person they successfully prosecuted (according to the law) does not deserve prison time, according to the law.

      I’m afraid that constitutional separation of powers were just peed on.

      Liked by 4 people

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        Xena,

        “I’m afraid that even more prosecutors will give a show to citizens and jurors, then recommend to judges that the person they successfully prosecuted (according to the law) does not deserve prison time, according to the law.”

        Your stating this concern made me think of what will happen in the second-degree manslaughter trial of sheriff reserve deputy Robert Bates who pulled out his gun (thinking it was his stun gun) and shot and killed Eric Harris who was being held down by sheriff deputies.

        The first witness in his trial testified today:
        http://okcfox.com/news/local/jury-selection-continues-in-manslaughter-trial-of-robert-bates

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yahtzee,
          Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. Each time I followed-up on the Bates’ trial, there was a delay, or a motion to delay. I’ll start putting reports together to open a new post about this trial, and maybe we can follow it. Thanks again.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Yahtzee- Look at the video Dr Joy DeGruy – It is a great read

          Liked by 3 people

          • yahtzeebutterfly

            Supabutterfly, just finished watching it. Powerful, powerful, powerful. Wish everyone could and would see it. I very much appreciate you posting it for me. I need to read her book now.

            Liked by 2 people

            • It was excellent and explains allot of what’s going on today. I am going to buy the book as well. I am glad you liked it!!

              Liked by 3 people

            • I watched 3 times soo far.

              Liked by 2 people

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              I can understand why you watched it 3 times, supabutterfly… I was thinking that I should watch it again. There is so much work that needs to be done to repair the damage done to the African American community.

              There were so many important illustrations (with quotations of scientists, political leaders, and creators of laws) presented in the video showing the barbarism of whites who historically have tried to claim being the civilized ones and having humanity.

              My insides have shuttered and wept.

              Yes, it does explain much of what is being witnessed today.

              Liked by 2 people

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              I should say that differently–

              There were so many illustrations in quotations of Whites trying to excuse their barbarism by scientifically or through legal twistedness taking away the humanity of the Black victims.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. chuquestaquenumber1

    From the moment he was unjustly killed, the total disregard for Akai Gurley’s life began. I always admired DA Thompson until now. In Ohio and Illinois prosecutors that delivered unjust actions were defeated in elections. People in Brooklyn send the same message.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Chuquest,
      Absolutely — send the message.

      Like

    • roderick2012

      Chuq, I am sure after the conviction Thompson got calls from Patrick Lynch and probably Bratton himself stating that no officers involved in arrests in Thompson’s jurisdiction would be available to testify at trials if he hadn’t written the letter to the judge requesting no jail time.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. From what I hear, the Chinese community was screaming about how unjust this is for a Chinese cop to get charged for killing someone when white officers automatically get off. The judge used power that is not his, against the law, to reduce the charge to get this police officer off. In other words, the judge just told the jury that they are wasted their time. America… a country town and a country that has the most racism than any country in this world, yet everyone wants to be a citizen. Why?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Cfboston,
      Are you referring to people from other countries wanting to become U.S. citizens? If so, think of it this way. Are they from the UK? Australia? France? Germany? In other words, not countries torn by civil wars? What we find mostly are people who want to come to America to work, or escape wars or warlike conditions in their countries.

      Often, they don’t know about America’s current situation and think that things such as racism are in the past. Or, they are not people of color so don’t think about acceptance or rejection in this country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think those in poor countries want to be American citizens, and those that are trying to get away from their own governments.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Cfboston,
          Most likely to get away from their government, because our businesses have or are moving to other countries. I spoke with a customer service rep for a software company not long ago. All anyone has to do is make a call for customer service on any American product or service. It causes me embarrassment at times when I cannot understand the rep. Evidently, they are only given so many minutes to handle a call, which makes it more difficult to understand heavy dialects or accents going a mile a minute. I feel sorry for them too, because it must be frustrating for them to have to repeat themselves.

          Like

  6. yahtzeebutterfly

    So distressing.

    Eerie.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s a slap in the face of the victims and families of police misconduct. These victims have already been betrayed by the ppl they’ve entrusted with a gun, to be competent, responsible & honor bound to do what we pay them to do. Forget the prosecutor, now judges have decided not to even put on the pretenses, they’re going to do exactly as they like, in front of god and everyone& we can Eff Off if we don’t like it ..#NoJustice!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Shannon,
      You might remember the murder of Jose Campos Torres where officers Terry Denson and Steven Orlando were tried on state murder charges. They were convicted of negligent homicide and received one year of probation and a $1 fine. That was in Texas in 1978.

      History is now repeating itself.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. This is disgusting……total BS. Watching Liang stick his face in his hands and “cry” is pathetic. Once one pulls the trigger, even by accident, you must pay the penalty. As stated above, if Liang was shot, somebody would be in prison for years.

    For the Judge to claim Liang was protecting the public is a complete line of crap, since one person was killed. Liang, and any cops, sworn duty is to err on the side of caution FOR THE SAKE OF THE CITIZENS !!!!!!!

    It’s “To Protect and to Serve” In fact, it states it on almost every cop car in this country. In fact, it’s part of their sworn oath. My dad was a cop for 30 years and I can say this topic was up all the time. Most of his cop buddies said the same thing, that is, it’s not shoot 1st, it make damn certain shooting at anyone is THE LAST RESORT.

    There are no true accidental shootings in a case like this since his gun was out when he entered this situation.

    Sickening………….once again, no justice.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Racer,
      (((Applause)))

      At Liang’s trial, the prosecutor argued that it’s against police policy to have a finger on the trigger unless there is clear and present danger. Liang was wrong to have his finger on the trigger. It’s the same prosecutor who recommended to the judge that he not send Liang to prison.

      The prosecutor and judge have betrayed the justice system.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am not shocked about this either. It sickens me to no end. The entire justice system is screwed up. And bad. Can it ever be fixed?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey Shyloh! Can it be fixed? Permanently? I doubt it. As the saying goes, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      Like

  10. roderick2012

    The existence of #BLM is again validated.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Reblogged this on End Stand Your Ground and commented:
    A New York judge changed the charge on a former cop convicted of to criminally negligent homicide and sentenced the cop – who had faced a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison – to only to five years probation and 800 hours of community service for the death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is complete and utter Bull. I am sorry. So the Judge reduced his conviction from Manslaughter 2 (class C felony) to Criminally Negligent Homicide (class E felony). The Judge basically usurped the role of the jury throwing out their verdict and supplanting it with his own!

    Like

    • Supabutterfly,
      Yes. You get it. This case is tainted by the usurping of separation of powers. Since it’s a judicial decision, “the state” has had its legs cut off because the prosecutor, representing the people of the state, surrendered his authority to the judge who then usurped the authority of the legislature.

      Like

  13. Why did they even indict him? This was a waste of time and tax payers money… It’s sad when we can predict the outcome… Its becoming a normal pattern..

    Like

    • Supabutterfly,
      Agree — it was a waste of tax payers’ money, and the jury’s time. Maybe Liang should have opted for a bench trial and then what the judge did would not have been totally disrespectful to the separation of powers and Akia’s family.

      Like

  14. There’s no truth to the way this turned out. Xena, tell us all that you’re “punking us”……………………….right????
    GEEZ!

    Like

    • No Roach, I report it as the media reports it. At encouragement by the prosecutor, the judge actually took the power of the jury away and reduced the charge in order to sentence a convicted murder to no jail time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sooooooooo sad!!! They had already made plans for this to happen this way. And they wonder why people act out by going on all of these violent rampages. I don’t condone it but people are sick and tired of all of the nonsense that is done right in our faces—-IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE!

        Like

        • Roach, it is sad. A jury was seated and paid to hear evidence and reach a verdict. They did, but it was a waste of time and money. It communicates a very powerful message of betrayal of trust to people summoned for jury duty, and that message carries up the ladder, including to state legislatures. For the victim’s family, I can’t imagine the betrayal of trust that they feel.

          Liked by 1 person

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