Ex-New York Police officer, Peter Liang, was sentenced to five years’ probation and community service today after a judge reduced his manslaughter conviction to criminally negligent homicide.
Peter Liang was convicted in February in the accidental shooting death of Akai Gurley. Gurley, was walking down a stairway in a public housing complex when the Peter Liang fired a bullet into the dark
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson suggested a sentencing of six months of house arrest, probation and 500 hours of community service.
“I never expected this to happen,” Said Gurley’s girlfriend, Melissa Butler said. “I’m just confused about what happened. What made the charges be reduced?”
“Given the defendant’s background and how remorseful he is, it would not be necessary to incarcerate the defendant to have a just sentence in this case,” said Brooklyn state Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun
Liang could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for the manslaughter conviction, but Thompson, who has said the officer should not have had his finger on the gun unless he was ready to shoot, told the judge last month that “a prison sentence is not warranted.”
Both sides plan to appeal today’s verdict.
“There was no happiness in him today,” Liang’s attorney Paul Shechtman told ABC News. “It’s just been really hard.”
Thompson said in a statement today his office “The jury, the voice of the Brooklyn community, agreed and returned the verdict of guilty against Mr. Liang, who is now a convicted felon, forfeited his career as a police officer and must now always live with the fact that he recklessly caused Mr. Gurley’s death. While our sentencing recommendation was fair under the unique circumstances of this case, we respectfully disagree with the judge’s decision to reduce the jury’s verdict and will fight to reverse it on appeal.”