- New York 12/05/2014 by Linda Perry (WBAI)
As Akai Gurley’s family prepares for his funeral tomorrow, Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson said he will convene a grand jury to investigate circumstances of his death.
This comes at a time where the impartiality of prosecutors has come into question with grand jury decisions against indictments for officers in the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Mike Brown in Ferguson. It's a time of protests when demonstrators are calling for Special Prosecutors to investigate these cases, but the Kings County DA says investigating the Gurley case is his job. "I pledge to conduct a full and fair investigation and to give the grand jury all of the information necessary to do its job. That information is still being gathered. As to those who have called for a Special Prosecutor to handle this case, I respectfully disagree. I was elected by the people of Brooklyn to do this job without fear or favor and that is exactly what I intend to do.”
Gurley was shot by NYPD rookie officer Peter Liang in Louis H. Pink housing project on November 20th. Liang was patrolling by flashlight in a dark stairway with his gun drawn. Gurley and his girlfriend emerged into the stairway and he was shot dead by Liang. Akai Gurley was unarmed.
The Daily News reports: In the six and a half minutes after Peter Liang discharged a single bullet that struck Gurley, 28, he and his partner couldn't be reached. And instead of calling for help for the dying man, Liang was texting his union representative.
The medical examiner has ruled Gurley’s death a homicide.
Gurley's mom Sylvia Palmer said, “I need justice for my son because my son didn’t deserve to die like that.”
The funeral service for Akai Gurley is Saturday afternoon at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.