Gurley Family Condemn DA Thompson's "No Prison" Bid for Liang, Killer of Akai

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In response to DA Thompson's sentencing recommendation of six months of house arrest, five years probation and 500 hours of community service for former NYPD Officer Peter Liang, Gurley's aunt, Hertencia Petersen, mother, Sylvia Palmer and stepfather, Kenneth Palmer, issued the following statement:

“Today, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s Office recommended to Judge Danny Chun that NYPD Officer Peter Liang's sentence for killing our beloved Akai Gurley not include any jail time.

“We speak as Akai’s mother, aunt and stepfather. We are outraged at District Attorney Thompson’s inadequate sentencing recommendation. Officer Liang was convicted of manslaughter and should serve time in prison for his crime. This sentencing recommendation sends the message that police officers who kill people should not face serious consequences. It is this on-going pattern of a severe lack of accountability for officers that unjustly kill and brutalize New Yorkers that allows the violence to continue.

“District Attorney Thompson was elected on the promise that he would not allow officers to act as if they are above the law and that he would help restore confidence in the justice system. His sentencing recommendation is a betrayal of that promise and sends the message that officers can continue to kill Black New Yorkers without consequence.

“Officer Liang recklessly had his gun out and pulled the trigger that night, took no steps to assist Akai as he lay dying, and because of that our family has lost Akai forever. The District Attorney’s inadequate recommendation diminishes what Peter Liang did. It diminishes Akai’s death.

“Our commitment to see justice will not waiver. On April 14, when Judge Chun sentences Peter Liang, we will be there to lift up Akai’s life and demand justice.  In spite of District Attorney Thompson’s failure to aggressively pursue justice for Akai, we hope that Judge Chun will take seriously the crimes for which Peter Liang was convicted, and appropriately sentence Liang to serve time in prison. 

“Peter Liang has not served a single day in jail, and he must be held accountable. We need DA Thompson to show us that he is a man of his word and that police officers are not above the law.”

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