|Akai Gurley (l.) was shot in a stairwell of the Pink Houses in Brooklyn. Peter Liang (r.) leaves the courtroom |
after the jury's verdict on Thursday.
By Christina Carrega-woodby, John Marzulli, Stephen Rex Brown
The rookie NYPD cop who gunned down innocent and unarmed Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn housing project was convicted Thursday of manslaughter.
The shocking verdict was a powerful message from the jury that the public’s opinion on police killings has radically changed in the wake of Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Michael Brown and other tragedies around the country.
The tension was palpable in the Brooklyn courtroom as the jury returned with the verdict just before 7:00 p.m.
Gurley’s family sat in the front row, as they had every day for the two week-long trial.
"I want to thank God. The D.A. was a man of his word,” said Kimberly Ballinger, the mother of Gurley’s daughter. “And I thank the jurors so much."”
“We’re not rejoicing,” Gurley’s aunt Hortencia Peterson told the Daily News. “But it's about being accountable. It’s about a girl who will never know her father.”
Liang, also convicted of official misconduct, faces up to 15 years in jail when he’s sentenced April 14. He is the first NYPD cop to be convicted for a police-involved shooting in a decade.