Civil Liberties

Brooklyn Man Killed By Police Officer, For No Actual Reason at All; An "Accident" Says NYPD


As the nation awaits the result of the grand jury investigation into the police shooting and killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last night a rookie officer in Brooklyn shot and killed 28-year-old Akai Gurley (a black man), just because the officer was nervous and already had his gun drawn.

Photo credit: dkshots / Foter / CC BY-NC

From the New York Post:

Peter Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau, also a rookie, entered at the eighth floor at the Pink Houses at 2724 Linden Blvd. about 11:15 p.m. when 28-year-old victim Akai Gurley entered from the seventh floor with his girlfriend — startling the cops, police sources said.

Liang fired one shot into Gurley's chest from about 10 to 12 feet away, sending him tumbling down to the fifth floor, where he collapsed, sources said. He later told other cops it was an "accidental shooting," sources said.

During a press conference Friday, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton described the incident as an "accident" that was the result of a "pitch black" stairway.

"As the officers were entering the eighth-floor landing, the lights were not operable," he said. "Everything points to accidental discharge."

Liang and Landau had been part of a specialized overtime detail specifically assigned to the Pink Houses after numerous violent occurrences there recently, Bratton said.

The officers had traveled to the eighth floor on the elevator and were about to make their way to the roof when they noticed the lights were out, resulting in Liang drawing his gun — raising the question of when cops are allowed to openly carry their weapons….

His girlfriend, Melissa Butler, 26, was braiding Gurley's hair in the hallway of the eighth floor before the deadly confrontation unfolded.

She claims Liang and Landau didn't utter a single word before her boyfriend was blasted.

"They didn't present themselves or nothing and shot him," Butler told "As soon as he came in, the police opened the [door to the] eighth-floor staircase. They didn't identify themselves at all. They just shot."

Policing can be dangerous, police officers often remind us. Too often that danger is to non-aggressive citizens who unluckily cross their paths.

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102 responses to “Brooklyn Man Killed By Police Officer, For No Actual Reason at All; An "Accident" Says NYPD

  1. Gun out, finger resting on trigger.


  2. Typical jumpy cop. Don't worry though - he went home safe at the end of his shift.
    I swear to God, this has got to stop. Cops are so fucking trained to believe that EVERYONE is out to kill them that they are in a state of essentially undeclared war with the citizenry. Fuck, if you are just wired with the thought that people are constantly hunting you, I'm not surprised so many civilians get killed every year but, hey, how about this for an idea: STOP TRAINING OUR FUCKING COPS THIS WAY!!!

    1. This is very true, but it's not just that. It's also the attitude that cops have about how the most important thing is that they make it home safely each day. Uh, no. That's not the job description. They are paid, and supposedly given arrest power, to use more restraint than a non-cop, not less. So to every cop, every single non-cop is expendable before they are. Even though the job description is the exact opposite.

      But when you make a job incredibly irresistible to cowardly bullies, their pussy ass fearful attitude is going to pervade the job.

    2. What makes you think that cops are trained this way?
      I thought they were just psychos that see a legal release for their issues

      1. I'll see if I can get my hands on one of the training modules from the Orange County Sheriff's Academy. They explicitly teach their trainees that soccer moms could also be the leader of the Juarez Cartel.

        1. This is what I am talking about. And what Epi said. Total pussies, the lot of them.

          1. Total pants shitting pussies.

            It's an important distinction.

            1. As a renowned pussy, I thank you for the distinction. I'd rather not be associated with police officers.

              1. Or pooping your pants, no doubt.

    3. Their lack of training and their "go home safe" mindset would not be possible if it where not for the complete lack of accountability when they do screw up or become a bad actors. Without accountability, they have no incentive to fix the issues that lead to these outcomes.

      1. Christ, this. Compare the treatment of the dumbshit homeowner in the Detroit suburb, who accidentally shot and killed the teenage black girl (Murder 2, 50 years in the pen), with what this clown is going to get. If they convict for manslaughter, I'll be surprised. Despite both of them being startle-reflex, NDs, where idiot wasn't watching where his muzzle was pointing.

        1. The only people who will truly be punished here will be the tax payers. The cop might loose his job, and get a token probationary period. Then the family is going to sue the city (and I don't blame them). Which you would think would cause the city government to change their policies and training so this won't happen again. But, instead, they will just pass that additional cost on the the tax payer. And, nothing else will happen.

          I do hope they at least change the apparent policy (since he hasn't been arrested) of allowing officers to patrol, even dark scary hallways, with weapons at the ready. This isn't freaking Iraq for crying out load!

          1. But at least he won't ever be a cop again, and that is a good thing.

            1. Man, I hope so. But, I actually wouldn't be so sure of that. It depends on what they do to him in NYC. If NYPD allows him to resign, and the DA doesn't do a criminal prosecution, or he's acquitted. He could very easily go to another jurisdiction and be back on the streets in a few years.

  3. This seems like an open and shut case of manslaughter (at the very least). Why am I going to be unsurprised if/when this results in nothing but a paid vacation?

  4. What's the most important thing at the end of the day? I think we all know the answer.

  5. That's not what the definition of an accident is. An accident would be the gun going off when bumped because of a faulty mechanism, or something. It's not where you intentionally shoot, but you're not sure at what you're shooting because it's "pitch black".

    Words mean things.

    1. This.

      "Always be sure of your target before pulling the trigger (and what lies around and beyond it)" is a basic rule of gun safety. It's one of the few things I was taught before I was ever allowed to hold a gun.

      So was "never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire."

      Being negligent (failing to follow the basic rules of gun safety) is not an accident. This officer chose negligence. You don't choose to have an accident, you choose to be negligent. This officer absolutely is and should be held legally and morally responsible when he made the choice to point his weapon and pull the trigger at an unknown, not positively identified target in the dark.

      1. The five rules:

        1. The gun is always loaded
        2. Never point the gun at something you don't intend to shoot
        3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire
        4. Always be sure of your target and what's behind it
        5. Never try to catch a dropped gun

        1. Never seen that fifth one, though I was taught the same thing about knives in cooking school.

          1. Unless your gun is a total POS, dropping it is not going to make it go off. Trying to grab a falling gunn and accidentally grabbing the trigger, on the other hand, does.

            1. My HGs have a striker plate. I can throw them off of a skyscraper and nothing would happen.

          2. While it is a good rule, I've never heard it listed alongside the Four Rules either.

            I do sometimes see a rule #5 formulated along the lines of "never let someone handle a gun if they are not able to do so safely." This includes very small children (like that kid with the full auto Uzi in the news last month) and people who are impaired.

            1. I've never seen rule #5 explicitly printed, but that's just something people should know. If it's not an antique wheel gun (or faulty) it won't go off. Flailing at it with your flanges as it falls to the ground? Dangerous.

              1. Flailing Flanges good band name

        2. The five rules:

          1. The gun is always loaded
          2. Never point the gun at something you don't intend to shoot

          Really, the first two are all you need.

          1. I disagree. You need finger off the trigger. I don't want a hole in my floor, or my daughter killed in the basement below that floor.

            Depending on the structure of your home or where you live, you could potentially ALWAYS be pointing the gun in a dangerous direction as someone could be on the other side of a wall, above the ceiling or beneath the floor.

    2. That's not what the definition of an accident is.

      Exactly. This was incompetence. I'm not saying this kid needs to go to jail for this, but he has proven beyond a doubt that he in not competent enough to continue in this line of work. Should be fired immediately.

  6. I expect that this case will also receive widespread media attention from the Left, right?

  7. During a press conference Friday, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton described the incident as an "accident" that was the result of a "pitch black" stairway.

    Translation: we intended to distract the public by charging the landlord with homicide.

    1. Haven't these cops ever heard of flashlights? Or would that interfere with their mission to kill something?

  8. So the victim and his girlfriend first entered the 8th floor from the 7th, but then she was braiding his hair on the 8th floor when the officers showed up and shot? And two cops were just standing around with their guns drawn in a dark hallway with nothing else going on?

    This story stinks. I wonder if Mr. Gurley and the young officer with such above-average-for-the-NYPD marksmanship knew each other prior...

  9. I think I'm at horrification saturation level.

    There's so much that's so wrong and has been for so long.

  10. Two rookies patrolling a violent building alone. What's the worst that could happen? Stupid really and the supervisors have some of the blood on their hands too.

    He should be charged with something. Probably not murder, but negligent homicide, involuntary manslaughter...something.

    1. "a violent building "

      To be fair, the architect had a troubled childhood

      1. The architect's name was Evo Shandor. I found it in Tobin's Spirit Guide. He was also a doctor, performed a lot of unnecessary surgery. And then in 1920, he started a secret society...

        1. Let me guess: GILMORE worshipers.

          1. After the First World War, Shandor decided that society was too sick to survive. And he wasn't alone, he had close to a thousand followers when he died. They conducted rituals up on the roof. Bizarre rituals, intended to bring about the end of the world, and now it looks like it might actually happen, when GILMORE's mom gets here.

      2. I thought about that right after I hit submit.

        Too late to get the offending sentence in line. I was waiting for the ridicule; now it would seem I have it.

  11. "On a very human level, we lost a life today," the mayor concluded. "But it does appear to have been a very tragic accident."

    It would be a pity, a real pity, if some cops started dying from the same kind of "accidents."

    1. Pity, my god man you are describing a state of total war!

      1. What's your point?

      2. We're already at war, idiot. The cops declared it thirty years ago.

  12. Liang went home safe, didn't he, you nitpicking bigorati?

  13. Tell me again why we need the police.

    1. Because police show that bipartisanship is possible. Police and fire fighter unions are the only unions that both Republicans and Democrats can agree are great and need to be left alone.

      1. Don't forget teachers.

        1. Perhaps I was taking a limited view, I grew up in NC, which doesn't have a teacher's union. The state Republicans there were never buddy-buddy with them.
          In fact recently, the Republicans have been messing around a lot lately with teachers by lowering pay and credentials, retooling tenure. This was done in the name of fiscal responsibility, but the republicans got fleeced the real cuts in education spending need to be made with the county's administration. It's just nepotism and high school drop outs cashing checks for doing nothing.

    2. Those traffic tickets don't write themselves.

      Well, unless you're caught by a robot camera... then they in fact do write themselves.

      Hmm, I should have thought more about that response before I started it.

  14. And, of course, he did not shoot him ACCIDENTALLY. He shot him on purpose, from ten feet away, because he is too much of a pathetic wobbly kneed coward to identify his target.

    1. Identify what target? There was no indication that he was after any particular individual. Apparently he shot the person for being a person.

  15. Awe come on. Give him another chance. Which one of us hasn't screwed up the first day on the job?

  16. "Liang and Landau had been part of a specialized overtime detail specifically assigned to the Pink Houses after numerous violent occurrences there recently, Bratton said."

    Oh, the irony.

  17. OT: Is the Ferguson grand jury decision delayed? Thought it was coming out tonight...

    1. It was postponed so that people could stop by the grocery stores after work and get their eggs, bread, and beer before the rioting. Possibly pick up some ammo too

      1. I got beer. I abstained for 2 weeks, but I just couldn't resist today.

        I'm good in the ammo department.

        1. I got two beers down, and one left in the fridge.
          No ammo though. A friend of my wife's has been giving us a hard time for having a revolver, but no ammo (I shot the 2 boxes I had in the desert before we left CA). Nursing school sucked away all the guns, ammo, and fun money

          1. You should have at least one round in case of vampires or zombies.

  18. From the article: "pitch black" stairway

    From B.P. above: Gun out, finger resting on trigger.

    Yea. Someone who is ostensibly "trained" in firearms use managed to break every rule from holding to target acquisition and where your finger should be until ready to fire.

    1. Let me assure you, NYPD officer "training" in firearms is laughable. They also only have to go to the range once per year to "requalify", and if they fail, they just keep trying again and again until they pass (it's just an incredibly easy marksmanship test). So many of them never go to the range more than that one time per year.

      Yet they still think they are super-qualified in firearms, so much more than the peasants. It's amazing to watch NYPD officers talk about this, their total un-self-awareness is mind-boggling.

      1. Yet they still think they are super-qualified in firearms

        They also believe that they are superior drivers. But I see them fail to follow basic public highway laws, like signal use and speed (among other reckless things), on a regular basis. Also, I'd wager that I could take the average cop on a track any day, and I don't exactly have performance driving training. I just have a better idea of how a given car will handle.

        1. Look. They took a class. They have been trained. They took classes in firearms and in driving. Have you? No? Well then. They have. They're trained. You're not. Who are you to say anything when they are the ones who are trained. Huh? They're obviously experts.

          *smugly sits back and smirks*

      2. That's not just limited to the NYPD. That's just police in general.

  19. At least in my corner of the military, our view was there was no such thing as an "accidental discharge," only a negligent discharge.

    And I think that's a fairly universal view. All firearms safety I've heard of uses overlapping techniques (target ID, muzzle discipline, trigger discipline) to ensure a round never strikes an unintended person. Thus you have to be breaking all those rules to unintentionally shoot someone.

    For a trained shooter to make all those mistakes simultaneously requires negligence.

  20. Don't forget the "New York trigger" requirement which meant the cop had to "accidentally" squeeze really hard with 11-12 lbs of force in order to "accidentally" kill that guy.

    1. Well, he was super startled. Like more startled than you could know.

  21. 2. Never point the gun at something you don't intend to shoot kill


    1. 2. Never point the gun at something you don't intend to shoot kill destroy

      (your target isn't necessarily living)

      1. I believe "kill" is best because it ads a higher moral parameter.

        1. You still don't point it at a window or car in jest. I prefer destroy.

        2. If we're talking about something living, destroy is still applicable. What is being destroyed is a life.

  22. Totality of the circumstances.

    Procedures were followed.

    Nothing to see here; move along.

  23. If this man can keep his finger off the goddamned trigger, then any goddamned NYC cop can keep his goddamned finger off the goddamned trigger.

  24. *grumble grumble hat tip grumble grumble*

  25. Accidental discharge? No, that's how you get babies.

    What we're looking at here is a negligent discharge. The word we usually use for that is manslaughter.

  26. Listen, police are the only ones who protect us and keep us save from thugs and criminals. Therefore, they have more power, and with that power, comes less responsibility and oversight.

    Hmmm. Yeah, I get it: sounds crazy, but just drink a few time before you think it, and it all makes sense.

    1. I feels true.

  27. "Both officers were treated for tinnitus at Jamaica Hospital, authorities said."


    1. How do you think they'll get to retire on disability and double-dip with a desk job in another department?

    2. Disability pay for those two heroes in 4... 3... 2...

      1. Damn, should have refreshed...

    3. In a close, cinderblock stairwell, without hearing protection? Yeah, I can see where they might be hearing bells for awhile.

      It's also a great way to duck IA for a bit and perhaps meet your attorney at the hospital. Plus, you look like a victim too, should anyone be filming.

  28. I agree this is terrible, but I am going to give the Mayor, Bratton, and even Officer Liang himself some credit for not using the usual lies -

    "The suspect tried to grab the officer's gun"
    "The suspect reached into his waistband"
    "The suspect was holding a dark object and pointed it at the officers"
    "The suspect lunged at the officer who fear for his life"

    They admitted it was mistake and apologized. I find this a very positive development (in the midst of tragic circumstances)

    1. It wasn't a mistake though. Not even close.

    2. Oh well, shit, if they apologized...

      1. Fuck, I'm such a dick for gazing upon this story with disdain. How can I live with myself? The cop's sorry. No wonder he feels the need to shoot first, ask later.

  29. I know that when I hear someone approaching me and I can't see them, the first thing I do is start blastin'. I mean, who knows what trouble could possibly be sneaking up on you!? Tried by 12 carried by 6! Derpity derp!

    This cop is either too retarded to handle a firearm or intentionally murdered a black man for no reason whatsoever. Normally, I'd leave room for -some- doubt, as I can only rely on third party sources for information; but, this cop said as much in his own words.

    I only hope his conscience deprives him of his sanity. It won't, to my lament.

  30. Fun fact: Cops are responsible for roughly 5% of all firearm related homicide, not including dogs. This 5% only accounts for "justified" homicides while on duty. It does not include off-duty officers or incidents that were not voluntarily provided by the agency, nor things like officer off-duty, not justified, etc.

    That's 5% *justified* homicides.

    I argue that guns do not kill people; cops kill people.

  31. Sounds to me like a mob hit.


  32. "Everything points to accidental negligent discharge."

    Much more better!

  33. My Predictions:

    1. The Piggie will go on Paid vacation.
    2. The Piggies in charge will drag out the investigation as they need to be careful in order to fix up the story.
    3. The Piggie will setup a FUND in which the RACISTS in America will contribute to it. It will be called the THANK YOU FOR KILLING A NIGGER FUND.
    4. A Committee of Piggies will find that the Piggie did NOTHING WRONG.
    5. In the UNLIKELY EVENT that the DA (another PIGGIE) indicts, the Piggie in question will WAIVE his right to JURY Trial so that a Judge (another PIGGIE) will find him Not Guilty.

    Anybody wanna make a bet?

  34. my co-worker's step-sister makes $69 hourly on the internet . She has been out of work for nine months but last month her pay check was $13181 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go Here this site....


  35. so this guy died for officer safety. are they going to form a hundred cop car funeral procession and honor him for paying their salaries and taking a bullet for them?

  36. Is like an Afghan warzone out there for these boys in blue. Anyone could have been around that corner.

  37. Gurley, who has multiple previous arrests on robbery and other charges, ..."

    So, yet another scummy little thief is dead. Why are we supposed to think that isn't the right outcome?

    1. Because the shit head cop isn't prescient? Incompetence so exists.

      1. Exactly this. That cop had no earthly idea who he was "accidentally" shooting.

    2. Arrests not convictions.

    3. Because that has nothing to do with this case?

      Once again, Tulpa, go fuck yourself. You could at least come into live threads when you do this, instead of coming long after the thread is dead to put forward your asinine points.

    4. I can't believe people like Flemur exist.

      He must be a troll...

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