Rally for slain Akai Gurley protests police violence
It's been a little more than a month since former NYPD Officer Peter Liang was spared prison time for shooting and killing 28-year-old Akai Gurley. Now Gurley's family members are uniting with others to make sure their voices are heard.
Liang was a rookie officer in 2014 when defendents say he accidentally fired at Gurley while patrolling a dimly lit stairwell in the Pink Houses.
Liang was convicted of manslaughter, among other charges, and faced up to 15 years in prison, but last month a judge downgraded the charge to criminally negligent homicide. Liang was given five years of probation and 800 hours of community service.
"It's a dagger," Hertencia Petersen, Gurley's aunt, said of the sentencing. "We figured, OK, maybe we will get some type of justice, we did not get anything."
Protestors hit the streets Saturday in search of answers. They said the rally was not just for Gurley, but for all people who have been subject to police brutality.
They planned to march from Barclays Center to the Gowanus Houses, where they say 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr. was shot and killed in 1994 by a police officer who mistook his toy gun for a real one.
"It's going to be really up to the people, because this system, it seems to me, refuses to hold these officers accountable for the killing of innocent, unarmed, human beings," Heyward's father said.
Protesters say they will continue making noise until changes come.