Activists rally for, against Liang sentence

Protesters arrived outside the Downtown Brooklyn courthouse Tuesday, where former NYPD Officer Peter Liang was sentenced to just probation and community service after being convicted

Protesters arrived outside the Downtown Brooklyn courthouse Tuesday, where former NYPD Officer Peter Liang was sentenced to just probation and community service after being convicted of killing an unarmed man in a NYCHA stairwell in 2014.

Protesters arrived outside the Downtown Brooklyn courthouse Tuesday, where former NYPD Officer Peter Liang was sentenced to just probation and community service after being convicted of killing an unarmed man in a NYCHA stairwell in 2014. (4/19/16)

BROOKLYN - Protesters arrived outside the Downtown Brooklyn courthouse Tuesday, where former NYPD Officer Peter Liang was sentenced to just probation and community service after being convicted of killing an unarmed man in a NYCHA stairwell in 2014.

The protesters say they were furious at the judge's decision not to send Liang to prison. They also directed some of their anger at District Attorney Ken Thompson, who recommended the lenient sentence.

Meanwhile, other people rallied in support of Liang nearby.

Liang shot and killed Akai Gurley when he accidentally pulled the trigger of his service weapon in an unlit stairwell in East New York's Pink Houses. The bullet ricocheted and struck Gurley.

Liang's supporters say the slaying was an accident and that the judge was right not to make a scapegoat out of the former officer. 

Gurley's aunt was among the protesters decrying the sentence. She says she and others will continue to protest the decision, which they say is not the justice Gurley deserves.

Gurley's supporters say the reduced charges represent yet another letdown on behalf of the criminal justice system.

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