Officers can now be put in prison for years if they accidentally shoot someone and such is the case of rookie police officer Peter Liang.
Much of the crime taking place in the decaying cities of America is taking place in tenements. The stairwells are a criminal’s safe haven. There are no cameras, no way to penetrate the concrete to hear what is being said. All manner of crimes take place from rapes to drug deals to murders in tenement stairwells and on roofs.
Police conduct ‘vertical patrols’ to keep the residents safe. They are extremely dangerous for the police.
It’s a daunting and dangerous assignment — patrolling the darkened stairwells of the city’s most violent buildings – and it’s also necessary. As police go from the roof to the bottom floor, they are imperiled every step of the way. It’s a war zone and criminals know police are fair game.
Two police officers were shot and wounded this month at a public housing complex on East 156th Street in the Bronx as they were conducting a vertical stairwell patrol, according to the NYPD. The alleged gunman, identified as 23-year-old Malik Chavis, apparently killed himself soon after the shooting, in an apartment one floor from the scene.
One officer was shot in the cheek and the other was shot in the abdomen.
There isn’t any furor. There is a furor, however, over a terrible accidental shooting of a black man in a tenement in 2014.
Back in 2014, Bratton promised to pair rookies with experienced cops after Akai Gurley, 28, was accidentally shot by rookie officer Peter Liang.
Rookie cops are often assigned to these dangerous patrols and often they are not with experienced officers.
One night in November, 2014, the young rookie, just recently on the job, was engaged in a dangerous vertical patrol with another rookie officer.
Liang and partner Shaun Landau — both probationary officers and both now fired from the force — were on routine patrol in a pitch-dark stairwell at the crime-ridden Louis Pink Houses project in East New York on the night of Nov. 20, 2014, when a slamming metal door broke the tense silence.
Possibly startled by the noise, Liang accidently pulled his trigger.
The bullet ricocheted off a cinder-block wall and pierced the heart of unarmed passer-by Akai Gurley, 28, killing him in minutes. Trying out Liang’s Glock under the direction of the prosecution convinced jurors that Liang had recklessly patrolled the stairwell with his finger on the trigger of a drawn weapon, in violation of department rules, jurors said after the verdict.
Liang was convicted thanks to a clever prosecutor who had the jurors handle the gun to convince them Liang couldn’t have possibly shot off the gun accidentally.
None of the jurors were experts and they still aren’t but they became convinced they had enough expertise to claim Liang was criminally negligent.
No one is saying Liang deliberately killed Mr. Gurley. It was an accident but in New York and in the United States in general, police officers can now be jailed for 15 years for an accident.
All agree that this was an accident. The prosecutor who decided to over-prosecute the case of Officer Liang went for a manslaughter charge though he knew it was an accident. He then convinced the jurors they could put themselves in the officer’s position and become experts by handling the gun.
They were told by experts that it takes 11 pounds of pressure to pull the trigger of a 9mm glock. An 11-pound trigger makes a gun much harder to pull accidentally but in fact it can be done accidentally, especially under high stress conditions.
These so-called newbie experts on the jury decided Mr. Liang must have foolishly had his finger on the trigger as he went through the tenement – the hellhole of crime – and lied about it.
Liang was convicted because they decided he lied.
Both officers were fired because they didn’t perform CPR. Mr. Gurley was shot in the heart and had no chance of survival – he died very quickly.. The rookies did not have proper training in CPR.
Fired for not giving CPR?
It was a terrible accident and no one wanted to see Mr. Gurley hurt, but it was an accident. How can police officers do their jobs when they know an accident will be criminalized? This wasn’t a prosecution, it was a political persecution.
All Officer Liang ever wanted to be since childhood was a cop.