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