Officer Peter Liang has been found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Akai Gurley. He has also been found guilty of official misconduct for not helping Gurley, 28, as he bled to death.
Liang’s defense attorneys argued that the rookie cop did not get proper training in CPR at the police academy, and that he panicked after accidentally firing his weapon in the darkened stairwell. Gurley’s girlfriend, Melissa Butler, performed CPR while another woman called 911.
“No matter what happened in the police academy with police training, you can rest assured Peter Liang, Shaun, and every other graduate of the academy was better equipped, better trained, and able to do the chest compressions Melissa Butler was forced to do while she knelt in [Gurley’s] blood and urine,” assistant district attorney Joseph Alexis said in closing arguments earlier this week.
“This is not an accident. This is an officer who couldn’t properly handle his gun,” Alexis said. “It’s no accident [the bullet] hit the wall steps away from where Akai Gurley stood.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the last NYPD officer to be found guilty in a civilian’s shooting death was Bryan Conroy, convicted by a Manhattan judge of criminally negligent homicide in 2005.
The jury in Liang’s trial deliberated for a little more than two days, the New York Times reports. Liang faces up to 15 years.