Peter Liang, 28, is charged with manslaughter, criminally
negligent homicide and other counts for the death of Akai Gurley,
28, on Nov. 20, 2014.
At the time, Gurley's death added fuel to protests in New York and
elsewhere in the United States over the use of police force against
minorities, although Liang, a Chinese-American, is not accused of
deliberately shooting Gurley.
The basic facts of the case are largely undisputed. Liang and his
partner were conducting a routine patrol inside a Brooklyn public
housing building when they entered a stairwell without working
Liang, who had drawn his weapon, fired a single shot that ricocheted
off a wall and struck the chest of Gurley, who was walking one floor
The officer testified tearfully in his own defense on Monday, saying
he was startled by a loud noise and accidentally squeezed the
"Oh my god, someone's been hit," he recalled saying upon seeing
The defense has emphasized the dangers inherent in patrolling
crime-ridden public housing buildings. On Thursday, two officers
were shot during a similar patrol inside the stairwell of a Bronx
public housing complex.
Prosecutors have accused Liang of spending crucial minutes arguing
with his partner over whether to call in the shot for fear of
discipline, while Gurley lay dying on a landing downstairs.
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Liang also did not offer Gurley medical aid after the officer
realized someone had been shot and should not have had his weapon
out of the holster in the first place, according to prosecutors.
Liang testified in court on Monday that he did not perform CPR on
Gurley in part because he was "panicking" and "in shock."
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Alan Crosby)
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