NYPD Officer Convicted of Manslaughter in Reckless Stairwell Shooting

New York City Police Officer Peter Liang appears during closing arguments in his manslaughter trial, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, at Brooklyn Supreme court in New York. The rookie police officer who shot an unarmed man in a dark public housing stairwell says what happened was a deadly accident. Prosecutors call it manslaughter and say he acted recklessly and then did little to help the dying man. Jurors could start deliberating as soon as Tuesday on whether Liang's actions amounted to a crime. (Gregory P. Mango /New York Post via AP, Pool)
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NYPD Officer Convicted of Manslaughter in Reckless Stairwell Shooting

Officer Peter Liang, a rookie police officer who shot an unarmed Akai Gurley dead in a darkened public housing stairwell, was convicted Thursday of manslaughter.

The shooting happened in a year of debate nationwide about police killings of black men, and activists have looked to Liang’s trial as a counterweight to cases in which grand juries have declined to indict officers, including the cases of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. Like Gurley, Brown and Garner were black and unarmed.

The manslaughter charge, a felony, carries up to 15 years in prison. While Liang awaits sentencing April 14, he was dismissed from the New York Police Department right after the verdict, department spokesman Peter Donald said.

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