Bklyn DA Chided for Backing Light Sentence for Convicted Cop


After Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth Thompson recommended that the cop who killed an East New York black man shouldn’t spend time in jail, outraged family and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement declared their disappointment Thursday.

“How dare you, a black man, a black man that we put in a high position,” Assemblyman Charles Barron said on the street outside the DA’s office. “How dare you get an indictment of manslaughter, get a conviction of manslaughter, and then say he shouldn’t spend a day in jail. You are out of your mind.”

Former New York City Police Department officer Peter Liang was convicted in February of manslaughter for shooting Akai Gurley, 28, in a dark stairwell in the Pink Houses in November 2014.

However, Thompson suggested in a letter to the State Supreme Court, addressed to Judge Danny Chun Tuesday that he receive five years probation, six months of home confinement and 500 hours of community service.

“There is no evidence that the defendant intended to kill or even injure Mr. Gurley,” Thompson said in his recommendation.

Still, Gurley’s family and community leaders expressed frustration, finding that Thompson betrayed the family, black lives and Brooklyn residents.

“How can you look a mother in the eyes and say you will do everything possible to get justice for her son and turn around and recommend no jail time,” said Gurley’s aunt, Hertencia Peterson. “You are just as guilty as if you pulled the trigger.”

Liang reportedly apologized to Gurley’s domestic partner, Kimberly Ballinger, Thursday morning according to Liang’s attorney, Paul Shechtman. Ballinger is the mother of Gurley’s 3-year-old daughter Akaila.

Liang was scheduled for sentencing April 14 when he could face up to 15 years in prison.

“All the family wanted from day one was for Peter Liang to be held accountable. Is that too hard?” Peterson said.

Photo: Assemblyman Charles Barron.

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