KALAGNY – 2016 NAPABA Northeast Regional Conference
A Shot in the Dark: The Peter Liang/Akai Gurley Tragedy
Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African-American man, was fatally shot on November 20, 2014, in Brooklyn’s Louis H. Pink Houses, by rookie NYPD Officer Peter Liang, who had entered a stairwell with his firearm drawn. The shooting was declared an accidental discharge; the bullet ricocheted off the wall and Gurley was struck once in the chest and later died from the shot. On February 10, 2015, Liang was indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter, assault, and other criminal charges, and on February 11, 2016, Liang was found guilty of manslaughter and official misconduct, becoming the first NYPD officer in over a decade to be found guilty of shooting and killing a citizen while on duty. The shooting and trial touched off a firestorm of opinion and protests, and in the post-Ferguson era, the case has added another twist to the intense ongoing debate about race and accountability in policing, as well as the Asian American community’s place in that debate and race relations.
This panel will explore criminal procedural issues in the context of the Peter Liang trial, such as the indictment and grand jury process, what is the standard for homicide versus manslaughter, and will also look at the civil rights aspect of the case. How did the APA community respond to the tragedy and what can we learn from it going forward?
- Alexander M. Lee, Esq., Principal, The Law Offices of Alexander M. Lee
- Christopher M. Kwok, Esq., Supervisory ADR Coordinator, U.S. EEOC (appearing in individual capacity)
- Jin P. Lee, Esq., Principal, The Law Office of Jin P. Lee
- Sandra Leung, Esq., Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
- Vinoo Varghese, Esq., Principal, Varghese and Associates, P.C.
- Thomas Ong, Owner, Ong Investigative Group, LLC