- New York 02/12/2016 (WBAI News)
As Akai Gurley’s family and loved ones, we are pleased with today’s guilty verdict on 2nd degree manslaughter and official misconduct in the case of NYPD Officer Peter Liang. The prosecutor, the jury and the judge brought the truth that Akai was somebody. We have come one step closer in getting justice for Akai, and we know he will be proud that we have taken a stand for him in holding Peter Liang accountable. Nobody deserved to die like Akai did, and no verdict in this world can heal our heartache or pain in losing Akai.
We loved Akai. He was a good man, had a good heart and it hurts so bad to know he is gone. He was not just a statistic. He was more than a hashtag, and more than an example of police brutality. Akai was our father, partner, boyfriend, son, nephew, cousin and our friend. Officer Liang pulled the trigger of his gun that night, and because of that our family has lost Akai forever.
Too many parents, grandparents, partners, children and siblings in America know this pain that we have come to know so well since November 20, 2014. There are many more police officers who need to be held accountable, and we hope this case will send a message to all NYPD officers and police departments around the country and around the world that they can’t kill and get away with it anymore. Peter Liang’s partner Officer Shaun Landau should not have been given immunity and also should be fired for letting Akai lay there to die.
The people being brutalized and killed are Black, Latino, working class, LGBTQ, homeless, immigrant, Muslim, Arab, South Asian and enough is enough. We want justice beyond the courtroom. We want policy changes within the NYPD, to end the violence that police officers routinely inflict on our communities. We lost Akai over one year ago, when Officer Liang fired the bullet that killed him and he and Officer Landau didn’t do anything to save his life. Since that night, and long before that night, too many others have fallen victim to police violence.
We stand with the loved ones of Ramarley Graham, Eric Garner, Nicholas Heyward Jr., John Collado, Shantel Davis, Anthony Baez, Anthony Rosario, Hilton Vega, and too many more to name. We will not stop fighting for accountability for all officers who kill, and we will keep pushing for the systemic changes we need to end police violence, for good.
To all officers who have killed, to all police unions and attorneys who protect those officers, to all prosecutors who have failed to indict those officers, to all elected officials who have ignored this crisis: our grief, our demands for justice will not end. We will continue to fight for justice beyond this courtroom. Together with other survivors of police violence, our voices are an urgent alarm calling on you to fix this broken system of police killing community members they are paid to protect and serve. Though Liang has been found guilty, we want to make sure that his sentencing is heavy and that there is no appeal. We will continue to struggle and ensure that Peter Liang and Shaun Landau are held accountable.
We demand that:
The NYPD fire Shaun Landau with no financial payout or pension
The NYPD permanently end all vertical patrols and stop using the NYPD as your security
The City of New York divert the funds that paid for an additional 1,400 NYPD officers in 2016 and invest in critical resources into real affordable housing for the working-class, community centers, and after-school programs
We would like to thank the Office of District Attorney Ken Thompson, including Assistant DA’s Mark Fliedner and Joe Alexis for doing their best to present a strong and solid case on Akai’s behalf, and for helping us to win this victory amidst such a painful time. We would also like to thank the community including family members of others whose lives have been stolen by the NYPD who have come out to support on social media, in the courtroom and on the streets. We feel loved and comforted during a very difficult time.
The Family of Akai Gurley