Key Facts about the Case Against Officer Liang

1. Liang did not aim at anyone; instead, his bullet bounced off from a wall before hitting Mr. Gurley. (source para.7)

2. This is a highly unusual conviction: Even though this was an unintentional shooting, Officer Liang still became the first NYPD cop convicted of a police-involved shooting accident in over a decade. (source para.8)

3. For the past 15 years before this case, there were 179 fatalities involving on-duty NYPD cops. Only 3 cases led to indictments, but just 1 conviction. In the last conviction in 1999, the victim "was gunned down in a hail of police bullets." (source para.3-5)

4. Among the cases the prosecution cited to support their second degree manslaughter charge, the only one where a death also resulted from a ricocheted bullet is People V. Rivera, 70 A.D.3d 1177 (source page 28). In that case, the defendant had the intention to kill the victim but just not trying to shoot her at the moment when he discharged the gun. He lured the victim into an alleyway, fired seven shots and one shot ricocheted and killed the victim. The case is a reverse of a second degree murder conviction by the appellate court to a second degree manslaughter.

5. Officer Liang was a part of a program that pairs rookie officers to fight crime, which was described as a ticking time bomb years ago by the NYPD commissioner and only recently got phased out. (source para.1-3) Officer Liang also didn't know how to perform CPR due to his lack of training from Police Academy classes. (source para.7)

6. The rumor that Officer Liang texted his union rep as Akai Gurley lay dying is FALSE as stated by Marc Fliedner, the lead prosecutor in the case. (source para. 15) Neither is the rumor that Officer Liang had been "ordered not to patrol the stairwell" mentioned anywhere in the prosecution's account of the facts. (See People v Liang Memorandum)

7. Officer Liang almost certainly didn't know right after the accidental firing that the bullet had hit anybody, because the stairwell was dark, the lights were out, and he had to use a flash light, and because the victim ran down to the fifth floor after the firing while Officer Liang remained on the eighth. (source page 4)

8. When Liang finally realized someone had been shot, he was likely too shocked to render aid rather than being callous. The neighbor who helped Mr. Gurley's girlfriend call 911 testified that Liang asked her two or three times for the address of the building and looked like "stuck," "dumbfounded" and "like shocked." (source page 4) In addition, when a senior officer arrived, he found Liang to be "distraught," "incoherent" and "hyperventilating" and ordered an ambulance to take him to the hospital. (source page 5)

9. Oren Yaniv, an ex-journalist who took part in writing the rumorous December 2014 news article "EXCLUSIVE: Cop texted union rep as Akai Gurley lay dying", promptly quit his job at the Daily News and joined the district attorney's office as Ken Thompson's spokesman in May 2015 (source 1, source 2). The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics stipulates that journalists shall "avoid conflicts of interest", "test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care", "identify sources whenever feasible" and "always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity". Mr. Yaniv failed to abide by the code and failed his duty as a journalist. The misinformation he spread is wide-reaching, long-lasting, and impossible to correct completely.


A Conviction that Hurts

1. Office Liang aspired to become a police officer since he was a child. (source para.2)

2. Officer Liang graduated from M.S. 131, located in Chinatown, Manhattan, and is said to have many African American friends. (source para.2)

3. A harsh punishment for Liang would discourage minorities from becoming a police officer or take other duties for public good. (source para.15)

4. The indictment and conviction have shown to the current police officers (especially those of racial minorities) that their own department and union could throw them under the bus for a minor mistake. This would hurt their capacity to deal with criminals and adding danger to their job.

5. Given the facts above, it's hard not to ask whether the prosecution deliberately inflated the charge and whether they manipulated the trial in order to get Officer Liang convicted. The potentially biased juror also makes the conviction even more questionable.

6. As a young aspiring public servant, Officer Liang could have done an outstanding job serving the local Asian community, given his language skills and cultural background. But instead, he was assigned to an unfamiliar neighborhood on a dangerous patrol duty vastly inappropriate for his experience. It's an entirely preventable loss, where Liang is also a victim. To those who plan, deliberate and judge in the safety and comfort of an office: Stop aggravating the wrongdoing!


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1. "There are so many others who could be held accountable, before and to a greater extent. It is possible to agree, in the strongest terms, that black lives matter, while also insisting, equally, that due process be respected. Asian Americans, no different than African Americans, have a stake in eliminating racial profiling. It serves no community to be pitted against another. How strange, how wrong, it is, that the face picked to represent police brutality toward blacks is yellow."

Frank H. Wu, Distinguished Professor, UC, Hasting School of Law. (source para.10-11)

2. "A gun accidentally being discharged by an officer who has drawn the gun because he felt he was threatened… He was walking in a dark hallway, with a gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other, I don’t see a criminal act."

William Colton, New York State Assemblyman (source para.3)

3. "In the wake of unfortunately so many deaths of unarmed black men, some cops gotta hang. The sentiment in the Asian community is: It’s easier to hang an Asian, because Asians, they don’t speak up."

John C. Liu, 43rd New York City Comptroller (source para.4)

4. "You mean to tell me that the man who killed Garner got off scot-free, an officer who knows the rules, and has broken many of them. And this rookie made a mistake, in a situation even most veterans could have made the same mistake! This is truly an outrage this isn't justice at all!"

Tesfa Dennis, Facebook Comment (source para.1)

5. "The case is 100 percent by accident - the bullet ricocheted. So many cases involving white officers, only one involving a Chinese, and one-two-three, they’re finished. That’s it?"

Donald Moy, 71, Cafe Owner in Chinatown, Manhattan (source para.21)

6. "We all know the dangers of vertical patrol. If not for the grace of god, the department would be facing another funeral. If you were ever in law enforcement, in particular, a police officer, you will all understand the situation that placed Police Officer Peter Liang in that particular housing development during that time. We have all been placed in similar situations, the law enforcement grind to protect the residents of these developments from a few."

NYPD Asian Jade Society Web Site (source January 2016 section)