The Latest: Mayor hopes verdict in cop's case brings closure

AP News
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Posted: Feb 11, 2016 9:15 PM
The Latest: Mayor hopes verdict in cop's case brings closure

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a New York City police officer charged with fatally shooting a man in a darkened stairwell of a Brooklyn public housing complex (all times local):

9:10 p.m.

New York City's mayor says he hopes a jury's verdict brings closure to the family of a man who was fatally shot by a New York City police officer in a public housing stairwell.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Thursday night that he respects the jury's decision finding Peter Liang guilty of manslaughter and official misconduct.

He said he hopes the verdict brings closure to Akai Gurley's family for the "painful event."

The 28-year-old was killed in 2014 after the rookie officer accidentally shot him while patrolling the stairwell. Prosecutors argued Liang's actions were reckless and that he shouldn't have had his gun out.

Liang's lawyer said Gurley's death was tragic, but not a crime. He has vowed to appeal.

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9 p.m.

An attorney for an officer convicted of fatally shooting a man in a dark public housing stairwell says he will appeal the verdict.

Defense attorney Robert Brown says Peter Liang is "distraught" after a jury convicted him of manslaughter and official misconduct Thursday in the 2014 death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley. Prosecutors said that Liang shouldn't have had his gun drawn and that his actions were reckless.

Brown has said Gurley's death is a tragedy, but not a crime.

He said he didn't believe prosecutors met their burden of proof in the case and he has asked a judge to set aside the verdict. The judge didn't immediately issue a ruling on that request.

Liang was fired after the jury delivered its verdict. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

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8:30 p.m.

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson says "justice was done" when a jury convicted a New York City police officer of fatally shooting a man in the stairwell of a public housing building.

Speaking after the jury reached a verdict Thursday evening, Thompson said Officer Peter Liang's trial "had nothing to do with Ferguson," a reference to the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by an officer in Missouri.

He said Akai Gurley's death brought people from all walks of life together.

The 28-year-old was shot and killed after being shot by a ricocheting bullet fired by the rookie officer. He was patrolling the stairwell in 2014 when he fired his gun.

Prosecutors said Liang's actions were reckless. His lawyer argued the shooting was a tragedy, not a crime.

Liang faces up to 15 years in prison when he's sentenced in April. He was fired from the police force after the verdict was delivered.

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8:15 p.m.

The domestic partner of the man shot and killed by a New York City police officer in a dark public housing stairwell says she wasn't surprised the officer was found guilty of manslaughter.

Kimberly Ballinger, the partner of victim Akai (ah-KEYE') Gurley, says she was "just glad we got a guilty verdict."

Officer Peter Liang was convicted Thursday evening of manslaughter and official misconduct charges. In 2014, he was patrolling the stairwell with his gun drawn when he accidentally fired the weapon, striking Gurley.

Gurley was taking the stairs with his girlfriend, Melissa Butler, instead of waiting for an elevator.

Liang was fired from the police force after the verdict was delivered. He faces up to 15 years in prison when he's sentenced in April.

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8 p.m.

The president of the union representing New York City police officers says a jury came to the "absolutely wrong decision" when they convicted an officer of manslaughter in the shooting death of a man in a darkened stairwell of a public housing building.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch says the Thursday evening verdict in Peter Liang's trial was a "bad verdict" that will have a "chilling effect" on officers nationwide. He says 28-year-old Akai Gurley's death was a tragedy, not a crime.

The rookie officer was patrolling the stairwell with his gun drawn in 2014 when he fired and struck Gurley. Prosecutors said Liang's actions were reckless.

Liang was also convicted of official misconduct.

He declined to comment as he left the courthouse after the verdict.

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7:40 p.m.

A spokesman for the New York Police Department says an officer convicted of fatally shooting a man in a darkened stairwell of a public housing building has been fired.

Spokesman Peter Donald says Peter Liang (lee-ANGZ) was dismissed from the police force after the verdict was delivered Thursday evening.

Liang was convicted of manslaughter and official misconduct in connection with the death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley.

But an uncertainty remains: Brooklyn state Supreme Court Danny Chun has yet to rule on Liang's lawyers' request to dismiss the charges. They made it before the verdict.

The rookie officer was patrolling the stairwell with his gun drawn in 2014 when he fired.

Prosecutors said Liang was reckless and did little to help Gurley.

The 28-year-old Liang said he fired by accident after a noise startled him. His lawyers argued it was a tragedy, not a crime.

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7 p.m.

A New York City police officer who shot an unarmed man in a pitch-dark public housing stairway has been convicted of manslaughter.

Jurors delivered their verdict Thursday in Officer Peter Liang's (lee-ANGZ) trial. It's been closely watched by advocates for police accountability.

The rookie officer was patrolling the stairwell with his gun drawn in 2014 when he fired. The bullet ricocheted off a wall and hit 28-year-old Akai (ah-KEYE') Gurley on a lower floor.

Prosecutors said Liang handled his gun recklessly and did almost nothing to help Gurley.

The 28-year-old Liang said he fired by accident after a noise startled him. He acknowledged not helping Gurley's girlfriend try to revive him, but Liang explained he thought it was wiser to wait for professional medical aid.

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5 p.m.

Jurors deliberating the fate of a rookie New York City police officer who fatally shot an innocent man in a dark public housing stairwell have asked for white boards and the departmental firearms guide.

The jury made the request Thursday in the second full day of deliberations at the manslaughter trial of Officer Peter Liang (lee-ANG').

Liang says he accidentally fired the gun after being startled by a noise while patrolling the stairwell in 2014. Prosecutors say he was reckless and did little to help the dying victim, Akai (ah-KEYE') Gurley.

Gurley was taking the stairs with his girlfriend instead of waiting for an elevator.

Liang faces up to 15 years in prison if he's convicted of manslaughter and other charges.