Officer in Akai Gurley death gets trial date

The rookie police officer accused of shooting and killing Akai Gurley in the Pink Houses last year is expected back in court Tuesday.

The rookie police officer accused of shooting and killing Akai Gurley in the Pink Houses last year is expected back in court Tuesday. (9/29/15)

BROOKLYN - The rookie police officer accused of shooting and killing Akai Gurley in the Pink Houses last year appeared in court Tuesday.

A judge set the trial date for Officer Peter Liang Tuesday afternoon. The jury trial will begin on Jan. 7. 

Liang is accused of shooting Gurley on Nov. 20, 2014. Investigators say it was an accident and happened inside a dark stairwell as Liang was patrolling the NYCHA complex with his partner, but in February a grand jury indicted him.

Kings County District Attorney Kenneth Thompson says the shooting was not reported to police right away and that after the shooting Liang remained on the floor and argued with his partner about calling in the shot.

Supporters of both Gurley and Liang appeared in the courtroom for the judge's announcement. 

"That was a tragic loss, however two wrongs does not make a right," says Liang supporter Doug Lee. "Punishing Officer Liang for an accident will not bring Akai Gurley back." 

One of Gurley's aunts accused Liang of being more worried about his job than the man he'd shot.

"My nephew is not here," says Hertencia Peterson, the aunt. "You need to worry about that."

Liang has been suspended from the NYPD as the investigation continues. He faces multiple criminal charges, including manslaughter, and could spend up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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