Rookie NYPD Officer Indicted in Shooting Death of Unarmed Man in - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Rookie NYPD Officer Indicted in Shooting Death of Unarmed Man in Dark Stairwell

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Source: NBC New York Source: NBC New York
NBC News - A grand jury has indicted an NYPD officer in the November shooting of an unarmed Brooklyn man in a darkened public housing building's stairwell, a law enforcement source and a lawyer for the victim's family told NBC 4 New York.

The Brooklyn District Attorney would not comment on grand jury proceedings, but the law enforcement source and a family attorney said Officer Peter Liang has been indicted in the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Akai Gurley and will surrender tomorrow. The charge is not known. 

“This is the first step in a fight for justice in this wrongful and reckless shooting of an innocent man,” Gurley family attorney Scott Rynecki said.  The family will address the media outside of court tomorrow, he said.  

The head of the NYPD officer's union said Liang deserves the same due process afforded to anyone involved in an accidental death.    

"The fact the he was assigned to patrol one most dangerous housing projects in New York City must be considered among the circumstances of this tragic accident,” Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said in a statement. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio urged "everyone to respect the judicial process as it unfolds”

Police say Gurley was accidentally killed after opening a door in a pitch-dark stairway that Liang, a rookie officer, was patrolling in the Pink Houses in East New York.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that the shooting was an accident and called Gurley a "total innocent." Liang was placed on desk duty after the shooting. The shooting, amid the choking death of Eric Garner, sparked protests around the city.

Police say Liang and his partner, who both had less than 18 months on the force, were conducting a floor-by-floor sweep of the building and had gone to the roof when they noticed there were no lights in the stairwell leading up to it.

Given the location and lack of light, Liang drew his weapon and a flashlight for safety reasons, police have said. The other officer kept his service weapon holstered.

As the officers were entering the eighth-floor landing, Gurley emerged on the seventh-floor landing. He heard a noise and turned to look up at the two officers a floor above him, a law enforcement source said.

Then Liang fired, hitting Gurley 11 feet below him, according to police.Gurley was shot in the chest. He stumbled down to his girlfriend, who was by that point on the fifth floor, and she tried to administer first aid, authorities said. Liang and his partner found the couple on the fifth floor; 911 had already been called. Gurley was pronounced dead at a hospital.
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