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NYPD Officer Peter Liang indicted in accidental shooting death of Akai Gurley: Reports

A man holds a banner as he demand justice during the funeral service of Akai Gurley oKena Betancur/Getty Images.

The rookie cop who shot and killed Akai Gurley in a poorly lit stairwell in a Brooklyn housing project was indicted on Tuesday.

Reports leaked Tuesday afternoon that the Brooklyn District Attorney's office would charge Officer Peter Liang, 27, for shooting Gurley on Nov. 20 during a routine patrol in East New York's Pink Houses.

First reported by NY1, the Brooklyn D.A.'s office did not confirm the indictment, saying grand jury deliberations remain sealed until Wednesday.

The grand jury began deliberating Feb. 4. Liang faces at least one charge of manslaughter in the degree charge, which can carry up to 15 years in prison.

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Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, leaped to Liang's defense.

"This officer deserves the same due process afforded to anyone involved in the accidental death of another," Lynch wrote in a statement. "The fact the he was assigned to patrol one most dangerous housing projects in New York City must be considered among the circumstances of this tragic accident."

Gurley, 28, died from a gunshot wound to his chest after investigator said Liang "accidentally discharged" a single shot as an unarmed Gurley and his girlfriend opened a door to the stairwell.

Police said Liang was patrolling the stairwell with a flashlight in one hand and a gun in the other, one flight above the door Gurley stepped out of before he was shot.

Gurley died days before a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the alleged chokehold death of Eric Garner. Protesters outraged by the lack of criminal charges against police often pointed to the Gurley and Garner cases as evidence of need for police reform.

"Like many New Yorkers, I was troubled by the death of Akai Gurley," City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement Tuesday. "As the legal process plays out, I urge New Yorkers to continue to come together as we work to move our City forward on police-community relations."

 
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