Many are questioning whether or not justice has been served in the murder case of Akai Gurely — an un-armed black man, shot two years ago in a darkened staircase by former NYPD officer, Peter Liang.
As family members and friends still mourn the death of their loved one, they were taken aback on the judge’s ruling. What seemed to be in favor of Liang, Judge Danny Chun reduced Liang’s manslaughter conviction to criminally negligent homicide and granting him no prison time. Instead, Liang was sentenced to five years probation and 800 hours of community service.
“Given the defendant’s background and how remorseful he is, it would not be necessary to incarcerate the defendant to have a just sentence in this case,” explained Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice, Danny Chun.
This tragedy ironically occurred around the same time police officers around the nation were receiving backlash from all around for their inexcusable actions against unarmed black men. Family, friends and local residents were hoping Liang’s February conviction of manslaughter with 15 years in prison would play out the same earlier this week. A few members of Gurley’s family expressed how betrayed they felt by the justice system after Brooklyn prosecutors recommended Liang serve no time — having reviewed his record and the circumstances of the trial. Meanwhile, supporters of Liang viewed his situation as him being a scapegoat for former injustices.
What most people often forget when it comes to police officers is, although they are strong enforcers of the law, they are also humans — just like us — who have to make tough and wise decisions each and everyday. There’s no justification as to why this may have happened and its very devastating, but as Brooklynites we should learn to empathize and completely analyze situations before drawing conclusions which leave us biased. Many expressed white officers wanted to rid minority groups but Peter Liang is a minority so what excuse are we left with at this point?