DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN - The fate of an NYPD officer charged in the 2014 shooting death of an innocent man in an East New York housing complex now rests with the jury.
Attorneys for both sides made their closing arguments Tuesday so the jury could begin deliberations on whether Officer Peter Liang should be convicted of manslaughter in the death of Akai Gurley.
Before passing the case off to the jury, the judge informed them that he was dismissing one of the two misconduct charges against Liang.
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Liang admitted to accidentally shooting Gurley inside a dark stairwell at the Pink Houses. He was on a routine patrol at the time.
During his testimony Monday, Liang said he drew his gun when he entered the unlit stairwell. He said a noise startled him, and he accidentally fired into the darkness.
As News 12 has previously reported, the bullet ricocheted off a wall and fatally struck Gurley.
The defense has used testimony from retired detectives noting that police radios do not work well in some public housing areas, and that some officers were trained to pull out their gun while on patrol. The defense also mentioned testimony from the medical examiner that no field CPR could have saved Gurley's life.
According to the prosecution, the incident was no accident. Prosecutors say Liang was simply acting reckless and could not handle his gun.
If convicted, Liang faces up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter, homicide and other charges.