Police Abuse

Political, Public Pressure to Prosecute in Brooklyn "Accidental" Police Shooting of Black Man in Dark Stairwell

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Associated Press reports on some political pressure to actually hold accountable legally the police office Peter Liang who shot and killed 28-year-old Akai Gurley in the dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. By police accounts, the officer and his partner were not investigating any specific violent crime, merely on patrol.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton described the killing as "accidental" but doesn't seem to be claiming the gun went off by, say, the officer accidentally dropping it.

The officer, the facts of how guns work suggest, had drawn his gun, had his finger on the trigger, and pulled it, in the direction of things and people he could not see and said nothing to, by available accounts of the killing. This makes "accident" a perhaps infelicitous way to describe what happened, even if Liang did not knowingly and willingly intend to kill Gurley, who had done nothing criminal or threatening prior to the killing.

After the city's medical examiner's office declared the incident a "homicide"—merely meaning the death of a human caused by the action of another human being, not in itself with any specific legal implications—local politicians are calling for more action than just a shrug and an "it was an accident," Associated Press reports:

City Councilwoman Inez Barron and Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron met with officials in the Brooklyn district attorney's office on Monday. Afterward, Charles Barron told reporters he thought the shooting of Akai Gurley last week warrants a criminal charge for Officer Peter Liang.

He said Liang's use of a police weapon "was reckless endangerment, it was criminally negligent homicide."

Whether charges are filed would be up to Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, who has called the shooting "deeply troubling" and said it warrants "an immediate, fair and thorough investigation." His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday….

Liang, 26, has been placed on modified duty. Under standard policy, police internal affairs investigators won't be able to question him until prosecutors have decided whether to file criminal charges.

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  1. “Under standard policy, police internal affairs investigators won’t be able to question him until prosecutors have decided whether to file criminal charges.”

    WT actual F?

    1. Good thing there isn’t a double standard or anything.

      A cop in Missouri shoots a thug who may have tried to take his gun, and it’s an outrage.

      Police give suspects in their own ranks protection against questioning in homicide cases, and…well, just business as usual.

      1. It has nothing to do with the double standard it has to do with Garrity issues which I’ve explained several times here but most people ignore or too stupid to understand

        The officer is compelled to speak to internal affairs investigators and they can substantially poison a criminal investigation if they interrogate the officer in that situation he speaks to them under command and any of the information they get is somehow leaked to a prosecutor etc. and there have been countless cases where criminal cases had to be thrown out and huge was lawsuits were one etc. because a Chinese wall was not properly set up

        It is a different situation any standard employee since the police officer is an employee of a police department that have both criminal investigators and internal investigators there are all kinds of poisoning issues that would not happen if it was a private citizen not employed by police department who is being questioned

        1. Why not ask Officer Jumpy if he shot the guy and why, and let *him* invoke his privilege if he wants.

          You know, just like a regular peon civilian.

          I didn’t know that the Fifth Amendment meant the cop’s can’s ask you questions. I thought they could ask the questions, and *then* you could choose to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege.

          But apparently the donut-fancying crowd has special privileges.

          1. I mean, I bet you run into this situation all the time – “I’d like to ask this suspect some questions, but I can’t question him at all thanks to that pesky Fifth Amendment!”

            1. Again study GARRITY you’re not understanding the issue the issue is that no other type of employee faces compounded questioning by a LAW ENFORCEMENT agency that they must answer apart from the police officer and it is an entirely different double standard nEGATIVELY impacting an officer if they are questioned when a criminal case is pending and I can tell you personally as somebody who was been a victim of administrative misconduct some agencies do make mistakes and pay HEAVILY

              it may not be the quickest way for the administrators investigation to hold off well criminal charges are pending but it is the best way to preserve everybody’s rights and that includes the rights of the victim of the police officer if he did in fact commit a crime because the last thing you want to do is poising a criminal investigation

              The burden is on the state and the department to disapprove Garrity violations not the other way around and as a practical matter it is a very standard and one little slip of the tongue or improper comments made or something getting to the PA’s office during a paperwork error and you have a seriously threatened investigation and a massive lawsuit

              1. The glosses you mention aren’t in Garrity – maybe in some of the lower court decisions.

                Just give him a modified Miranda warning – “you have the right to remain silent without in any way, directly or indirectly, endangering your job.”

                “and I can tell you personally as somebody who was been a victim of administrative misconduct” Y

                You mean misconduct *by the police?*

                Or I suppose cops with supervisory authority aren’t *real* cops, just incompetent *cop o crats* who don’t know their asses from a hold in the ground (to hear you tell it). But we should *totally* support the police anyway!

              2. It’s a good thing that errors in police interrogation of *civilians* never lead to legal hassles.

              3. the issue is that no other type of employee faces compounded questioning by a LAW ENFORCEMENT agency that they must answer apart from the police officer and it is an entirely different double standard nEGATIVELY impacting an officer if they are questioned when a criminal case is pending

                This could easily be interpreted as a deliberate set up by authorities to structure the procedure of internal affairs investigations to be conducted by a LE agency specifically for the purpose of allowing such a finding. The whole issue as you describe it could be side stepped by abolishing “internal affairs” departments and establishing true citizens’ review boards empowered to question police officers outside the structure of a Law Enforcement department.

        2. your surfboard and Olympic? weights look good next to your signed Morgan Fairchild poster, derpfee

        3. One thing you learn from arguing these issues with a cop (or cop wannabe, as the case may be) is that there is always some arcane principle or terminology of which you were unaware. It is presented, not to educate, but to say that since you didn’t address the e.g. “Garrity issues” you are an ignoramus, your entire argument is discredited.

          Is there a name for this technique of argumentation ? (No seriously, it’s so common, it must have a name.)

          1. He’s attempting proof by intimidation, but it’s mostly just a string of non sequiters that he thinks add up to an argument.

            1. In the Navy we called that “shotgunning answers”. The hope was that one of the snippets of argument would satisfy the examiner. It was sad how often that worked.

              1. Were you a Nuc? That’s the only subsection of Navy I’ve ever heard use that term.

        4. Bullshit. In Florida, the LEO’s Bill of Rights states that an accused LEO CANNOT speak to investigators without a lawyer present and shall not be interrogated at a time or length such as to make them uncomfortable. Also, the accused LEO has 24 hours before they will be required to speak to investigators.

  2. THIS is a case to get more of an outrage going…

    “Eh, it was accidental… watcha gunna do?”

  3. Of course he should be prosecuted. And there’s no such thing as an “accidental” shooting, especially from someone supposedly trained with guns. But then again, if the cop that murdered Sal Culosi didn’t get charged, I’m sure this one won’t either.

    1. Exactly, guns don’t just go off accidentally, it was a negligent shooting, he had to point it and pull the fucking trigger.

  4. Intentionally firing your weapon at an uncertain target could only be described as an accident and not warrant charges. Same thing that would happen to you or me in the same situation.

    1. No prosecutor would convict a civillian on the same evidence. h2h, bigorati!

      /something something surfing, something something powerlifting, something something Morgan Fairchild

      1. Rubbish

        It very well may be a bad and/or criminal shot

        Unlike ignorant bigots, I like to see some case facts first

        Based on ONLY what has been claimed in the article it clearly APPEARS criminal, but as is almost always the case, initial reports are spotty inaccurate, etc

        I have declared plenty of shootings and UOFs criminal etc eg BART shooting, Schene assault etc

        1. So we finally have a case of police behavior so apalling Dunphy is reduced to admitting that it is criminal but that we don’t know for sure what happened. Wow.

          Sure we don’t know. That is why we have an investigation and if necessary a trial. The point it to make sure this is investigated and the public knows what happened.

          It just must suck to no end for the police here. I mean they just shot and killed some innocent person and the God damned cop hating public actually expects an explanation other that “sorry”. Jesus, Dunphy, you must find this appalling I know.

          1. Nice lack of reading comprehension

            Unlike bigots, I don’t claim omniscience and I don’t make snap judgments

            I am saying GIVEN what we believe to be true NOW, it appears LIKELY criminal

            I am most definitely NOT saying it IS criminal

            Sorry, study some basic analytical reasoning

            If there is one thing I know from investigating literally hundreds of crime scenes and responding to countless incidents that I have them seen reported in the press many of which have nothing to do with police actions I know that initial press reports and a lot of stuff like this last leads people to fill-in the huge vacuum of information with whatever their particular prejudices require

            It’s stupid to make snap judgments although it makes the prejudiced people feel good because it reconfirms their biases

            I hate the police misconduct as much is anybody here I just don’t automatically assume it is an informational vacuum

            Unlike people here not only have I testified more than once about police misconduct but I have personally been involved with civil suits to redress police misconduct

            BOOYA civil court

            It very well may be a criminal shoot and/or Unjustified or not I’m not going to claim knowledge of that which I do not know

            1. I’m not going to claim knowledge of that which I do not know

              lulz! wut? Are you self-trolling now, derpfee?

              1. Good point, Officer Berra.

            2. Commissioner Bratton must be one of the bigorati, since he’s calling it accidental instead of a self-defense against a suspect reaching for his blah blah.

              1. It’s not accidental – he pointed the gun and pulled the fucking trigger. At best it was negligent.

          2. So we finally have a case of police behavior so apalling Dunphy is reduced to admitting that it is criminal but that we don’t know for sure what happened.

            I’d like to see it as a good sign, but “wait for all the facts” so often results in “wait for the cops to get their story straight and set the scene and then wait some more until everyone forgets about it” that I can’t see this as any sort of progress on his part.

            1. Well, he WAS coming right at me…

            2. “wait for all the facts” so often results in “wait for the cops to get their story straight and set the scene and then wait some more until everyone forgets about it”

              Yep. Wait for the cops and their union lawyers to concoct some outlandish set of boilerplate and lies to justify the unjustifiable.

        2. …AND another piece of the familiar script….

          Dont’ rush to judgment based on what we know. There may be some other information unknown to us, so to begin to draw ANY conclusions is absurd. Bigorati need to wait for ALL the facts come in.

      2. Simply pointing a firearm at someone, even if unloaded, is a crime. At least in GA which is one of the most gun friendly in the country.

    2. I wonder which chapter of the training manual covers “spray and pray”. Seems to be deployed an awful lot…

      1. Chapter F, Article Y, Section T, Paragraph W.

      2. Panic Fire – ex:

        “AHHHH!!! WHATTHEFUCKISTHAT!!!!!!!!”

        BLAMBLAMBLAM at stairwell

  5. I’m assuming the “accident” the NYPD is referring to is the cop’s failure to bring a knife, gun or cell phone he could have planted on the corpse to render this a good shoot. Look at all the PR they have to do now – what an accident!

    1. “Let’s sprinkle some crack on him and get out of here!”

      1. “The hell do you mean, you already smoked it all? Dammit, rookie!”

  6. Saints hat and throwing a gang sign? Sure looks like a thug to me.

    Besides, he’s a rookie. Can’t we give him a mulligan or something?

    1. Can’t we give him a mulligan or something?

      Damn near sprayed my monitor.

  7. But it was dark, and he was frightened.

  8. When you point your fucking gun at somebody and pull the trigger, it’s not an ACCIDENTAL shooting.

    1. I don’t know a lot about guns. I don’t own one (I know, I probably should) and I’ve never fired one outside of a range. But as far as I know, short of dropping the incredibly rare old gun that can be fired accidentally by being dropped, there’s no such thing as an “accidental” trigger pull. Negligent maybe, but not accidental. Am I wrong?

      1. Once when I was learning to shoot, I had a gun go off when I had no intention of that happening. I set it down on the dirt while holding the trigger, like a dumb-ass. But since I was following the other rules, everything was fine and my instructor didn’t notice. (This was at a college PE class.)

        1. P Brooks is correct

          It is an (ATFPAPIC) likely UNINTENTIONAL shooting not an accidental one

          I don’t know
          NYC’s penal code but under model penal code is such a shooting would likely be classified as involuntary manslaughter

          It may be a crime and it may not be a crime the only thing that will help determine there is more evidence more investigation et cetera and right now it certainly appears criminal but that’s based upon very preliminary reports and huge informational vacuum

          I’ve seen plenty of cases where it appeared justified and then later turned out unjustified and/or criminal and cases where it appeared unjustified and criminal and turned out to be justified when looking at the case from such an early juncture

          1. Shorter dunphy:

            PBIC. ISAATFPAPICLUSNAAO. IDKNTCPCBUMPCISASWLBCAIM. IMBACAIMNBACTOTTWHDTIMEMIETCARNICACBTBUVPRAHIV. ISPOCWIAJATLTOUAOCACWIAUACATOTBJWLATCFSAEJ.

          2. And the “cop talk” string of letters that stand for something of which you are ignorant.

            This playbook is dog eared.

      2. No, you’re not wrong. NYC Police carry pistols with extra-heavy trigger pulls as well so they have to consciously press very hard. “Negligent” is when they shoot their foot re-holstering the weapon. This is worse than just negligent.

        1. It’s typical of a bigot because you have no way of knowing if it’s more than negligent or not it may be more than negligent, maybe reckless , may even be intentional murder but there is simply no way to determine that at this point with any degree of certainty
          From a statistical standpoint given an agency of 35,000 cops dealing with millions of incidents every year scores of thousands of calls involving firearms et cetera it’s not just possible that you will occasionally have negligent shootings, it is a near certainty no matter how good your training is

          Remember regardless of how the shooting turns out we’re talking about an agency with 35,000 cops serving a population of well over 8 million that in a recent year shot a grand total of 30 people (2012)

          13 cops were shot the same year

          It’s a safe city and shootings of cops or by cops are rare

          1. So don’t let a few bad apples spoil the barrel.

  9. If I point a gun at something and pull the trigger it’s because I want whatever is in the path of the bullet to be destroyed. What kind of fuckwit shoots at shadows and calls it an accident?

    1. One that knows there will no repercussions for doing so.

  10. I’m all about prosecuting police but how is it that such a prosecution requires a black victim? Cops shoot people unjustifiably all the time, but it doesn’t become relevant until you can claim there are racist motivations. This does nothing to hold police accountable, it’s just “social justice” to put whites in their place and the victim is irrelevant beyond their political usefulness.

    1. Erm, it doesn’t. I think you’re focusing too hard on the word “black” in the lede.

      1. The only one causing truly widespread moral outrage and giving pause to wide police discretion are cases like that of Trayvon Brown.

  11. Almanian’s Dad: “Do not EVER point the gun at something you do not want to kill.”

    That was the first lesson, age 7. I still remember it.

    Cop violated that rule, in which case he’s a moron, negligent, and guilty. Or, if he didn’t, then he’s a murderer.

    Case. Fucking. Closed.

    But let’s all not protest THIS outrage….

    1. ENGRISH: Cop violated that rule, in which case he’s a moron, negligent, and guilty. Or, if he didn’t, then he’s a murderer.

      translation: He either did it by “accident”, in which case he’s “negligent”, or he meant to do it “on purpose”, in which case he’s a “murderer”.

      Either way – he fries.

    2. If people got angry for only the right reasons, they’d all be libertarians.

  12. Ironically the Genesis case for the concept of Garrity rights was Oliver North lol

    1. Not really Genesis,excuse me but an excellent example

  13. VERY basic Garrity analysis, and doesn’t discuss poisoning, Chinese Wall etc (see Oliver North) but it’s a decent introduction

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki…..New_Jersey

  14. Inevitably there will be a handful of police shootings that will be closely spaced in time such that a large number of people will be prompted to view the police differently; it’s already happening.

    Since the Kelly Thomas incident, the cop-fellators in my social circle have largely gone quiet – their previous bragado replaced by something more furtive. For someone like me, being able to cite the police murder of Kathryn Johnson, the railroading of Richard Jewell, the shooting of that teenager flushing marijuana down the toilet in Brooklyn, the Dunphy-blessed murder of Andrew
    Scott, the murder of Jonathan Ayers etc has been a good thing; fewer members of my social circle and family are viewing this as a race-relations problem but are recognizing that what we have is a police vs citizenry problem.

    Bit by bit, the older generation who are strongly pro-police brutality are dying off, and the younger generation are less primed to be diverted by race-baiting from the real problem. And the cops will not change, so they will continue to knit the noose and put it around their necks by their actions.

    1. I was an Assistant State’s Attorney for 5 years….and I have made sure that I teach my kids that you have to be very wary around cops.

      Once part of the system…if I can turn that around, I do have hope that eventually police special privileges and immunity will fade away and we can get back to a more sensible set up.

      1. I do have hope that eventually police special privileges and immunity will fade away and we can get back to a more sensible set up.

        Shit in one hand…

  15. I’m too lazy to go back, but I recall when this incident occurred, the shooter said he shot the victim when he (the victim) walked into the the stairwell one landing below the shooter. No threatening movement, no furtive reach for the waistband, no cell phone mistaken for a gun. No chaos of a swat raid. There are no competing narratives, no ambiguity in the shooter’s statement. He pointed his gun at a person and pulled the trigger…according to HIM. So what else exactly would we need to know ?

  16. Talk about misplaced anger. A grand jury ruled that the Brown shooting was legit, while this guy straight up kills a man because he was trigger happy and it’s shrugged off as an accident?

    NY uses 12lb trigger pulls (normal is less than half that) and he had a flash light.

  17. my friend’s half-sister makes $74 /hr on the laptop . She has been fired for 8 months but last month her payment was $15926 just working on the laptop for a few hours. browse this site….

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

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