NYPD

NYPD Shooting of Unarmed Akai Gurley Will Cost NYC Over $4.5 Million in Settlements

Gurley was killed in a Brooklyn housing project's stairwell by former NYPD Officer Peter Liang.

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Can't bring back Akai Gurley
RJ/Flickr

The family of Akai Gurley — the 28-year-old man who was killed by NYPD Officer Peter Liang in the stairwell of Brooklyn's Louis Pink Houses housing project in November 2014 — will receive a cash settlement totaling $4.5 million from the City of New York and the city's housing authority, according to the New York Daily News.

Liang, who was convicted by a jury of manslaughter — a charge which was later reduced by Justice Danny K. Chun to criminally negligent homicide — will pay the mother of Gurley's daughter $25,000. Even though the lesser charge is still a felony, Liang received only five years probation and 800 hours of community service as his sentence.

Gurley's daughter Akalia will collect the settlement funds when she turns 18. In the meantime, they will be placed in a fund which will be "invested in rock-solid annuities" that could allow the fund to grow to over $10 million, the Daily News reports.

Gurley met his tragic fate when he and his girlfriend Melissa Butler decided to walk down a poorly lit stairwell after growing impatient with the Pink Houses' semi-functioning elevators. When they entered the stairwell, Liang and his partner were conducting a vertical patrol — which they had been explicitly told not to do by a superior officer — and Liang, who had his gun drawn while descending the stairs, was spooked by the sound and shot Gurley in the chest.

In the crucial moments that followed, Liang and his partner Shaun Landau made a terrible situation worse. Neither made any effort to help Gurley (both claimed in court to not know how to perform CPR), and after being incommunicado for more than six minutes, both were unable to accurately convey their location to first responders and superior officers. Liang was reportedly a "crying mess" who nonetheless was able to summon up the strength to text his union representative while Gurley lay dying.

Liang is appealing his criminal conviction, but both he and Landau were officially dismissed from the NYPD. Butler has filed a civil suit against the city, citing emotional trauma, but the city has reportedly filed a motion to have the case dismissed.

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  1. Gurley’s daughter Akalia will collect the settlement funds when she turns 18. In the meantime, they will be placed in a fund which will be “invested in rock-solid annuities” that could allow the fund to grow to over $10 million, the Daily News reports.

    Invested in the NYPD pension fund?

  2. This is getting absurd. How can it be that the municipality is abstractly responsible for these incidents (Gurley, et al.), but none of the actual people or policies involved are concretely responsible?

    1. He was just not following orders. Er…

    2. Because government is just another word for the things we choose to do together, like capping a dude in a stairwell. Didn’t you get the memo?

      1. Government is just another word for the vertical ghettos we build together and police with incompetant trigger-brahs.

    3. I refer you to the legal theory of “deepest pockets”.

      1. Indeed, but in this instance (and with government malfeasance in general) this ultimately leaves the power in the voters hands but the responsibility in the taxpayers’ hands. If only the two groups were synonymous…

    4. He was responsible for $25k. So about 0.5% vs the city’s 99.5% responsibility. Seems about right. [insert eyeroll here]

  3. “In the meantime, they will be placed in a fund which will be “invested in rock-solid annuities” that could allow the fund to grow to over $10 million, the Daily News reports.”

    Well, some politically connected brokerage firm just got a sweet deal!

    1. Let’s hope Chelsea Clinton’s husband isn’t managing the fund.

  4. OT: Fox was on the TVs in the caf at work. Outnumbered. The show is boring now that Andrea Tantaros is not on the show; however, I was amused at their choice of male guest and the topic of conversation. The topic was Guantanamo Bay and the inmates there. The guest? Peter King. A subject matter expert. It is a shame Fox identified him as “Rep. Peter King (R-NY)”, instead of “Rep. Peter King (IRA-NY)”.

    1. Roger Ailes: “We shall call it Outnumbered, and it will feature squawking women in short skirts, and turkey-jowled Congressional terrorists.”

      *ratings success*

    2. I prefer Peter King, Terrorist.

  5. Because this is a more relevant thread than the one I posted it in, here’s what secret pubsec union negotiations look like.

    http://www.thestranger.com/new…..lice-union

    1. Some meat’n potatoes:

      Campaign Zero, a national group that grew out of the Black Lives Matter movement, has analyzed police union contracts around the country. We shared the documents we obtained with Sam Sinyangwe, Campaign Zero’s New York?based cofounder. The proposed SPOG contract still contains “many provisions that undermine accountability and are simply not present in many cities’ contracts,” said Sinyangwe after reviewing them.

      On big-ticket items, Sinyangwe believes the city hasn’t come up with the goods: “The statute of limitations on [OPA] investigations, allowing discipline to be challenged through arbitration, erasing records of written reprimands, etc.?at least 9 of the 100 largest US cities’ contracts have none of these types of provisions (cities like Dallas, Denver, Fremont, Fresno, Nashville, Aurora), and many more have fewer of these provisions than Seattle.”

      He called the results of the city’s negotiations “mediocre at best.”

      Sinyangwe’s criticism stands in sharp contrast to statements from the mayor, police chief, and the Obama administration, which has been touting Seattle as a “national model” on police reform.

      1. Much better stuff than the usual activist krep. Yet another interesting topic for a motivated reporter employed by a libertarian magazine to pursue.

  6. NYPD Shooting of Unarmed Akai Gurley Will Cost NYC Taxpayers Over $4.5 Million in Settlements

    1. Sorry, Swissie, but that ain’t the taxpayers’ money, not anymore. Its the city’s money, so the headline is accurate.

      1. If the city doesn’t extract at least $4.5 million more in taxes and fines over the next couple years to offset the loss, then you might be right.

        1. That money’s all fungible. In NYC’s budget of over $80BB, they aren’t going to be making any special efforts to raise an extra $4.5mm just to cover this.

          1. Hmm, so what gets cut? Surely not cop salaries or pensions.

  7. will receive a cash settlement totaling $4.5 million from the City of New York and the city’s housing authority taxpayers forced to fund and pay for the violence of the arm of the state.

  8. You have heard of the Darwin Award, has anyone made a “You cost the citizen’s of this city” Award? Until the citizens learn how much officers are costing them, reform will not happen.

  9. Neither made any effort to help Gurley (both claimed in court to not know how to perform CPR),

    Cops are first responders. I find it extraordinarily difficult to believe that they weren’t trained in CPR.

    Now, were they also “trained” that if they ever shoot somebody, they’ll be better off if they guy they shot dies and can’t testify? I’d be shocked if they weren’t.

  10. If the funds are truly invested in annuities, she’ll be subjected to a tax penalty upon withdrawal if it’s prior to age 59.5. Although, that shouldn’t surprise me if that’s a feature, not a flaw.

  11. NYC got off light when you consider that the Gray family in Baltimore extorted $6MM from the City with no criminal conviction of any government employee involved in the matter.

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