Why Was Victim Akai Gurley's Life So Cheapened?

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Peter Liang

I am deeply saddened and angered by the judge's decision to lessen Officer Peter Liang's charge and sentencing, and thus his accountability in the death of Akai Gurley.

What message does this send when an unarmed man can be killed, and the justice system deems probation and community service as appropriate retribution?

This lack of reverence for Black life has become too common place in our country. This is not about revenge or looking for a harsh sentence; it's about looking for a fair one. The price for a man's life should not be so little.

I acknowledge this is a frustrating position for Officer Liang, his family and supporters. At the same time and regardless of his intent, a severe crime was committed.

As mentioned in my previous statement, the very real issues brought by the Asian community must be addressed, but only as an additive measure not a subtractive on.

There wouldn't even be an argument about this, had it been a situation where the unarmed person killed was a White man in a Park Avenue building, as opposed to an unarmed young Black man in a Brooklyn Public Housing complex.

We also cannot disregard the intentional decision made not to immediately seek medical attention for Akai Gurley, which could have saved his life.

There is no doubt that the miscarriage of justice and accountability was aided by the already too lenient sentence suggested by the Brooklyn District Attorney.

As I suggested, that recommendation could set a dangerous precedent, which appears to already have been followed. I'm disappointed and saddened not only for his family that was seeking justice, but also for the continued impression this will leave for our young Black people about the perceived value of their life in this system.

Apparently the punishment for killing an unarmed Black man resembles stealing several pairs of high-end jeans from a store.

The lack of accountability has left behind a trail of bodies in their midst, with only the community left to pick up the pieces of broken families and wipe the tears of their victims' loved ones.

New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, 45th Council District, Brooklyn.

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