Friends and relatives of Officer Peter Liang denounced his manslaughter conviction in the shooting death of an unarmed man, saying he was singled out for prosecution because he is Asian-American.
This comes as the police department moves swiftly to fire the police officer who was Liang's partner when the shooting occurred. NY1's Dean Meminger has the details.
Speaking in Cantonese and pointing her finger like a gun, the mother of convicted officer Peter Liang said she was outraged, upset with the way Brooklyn prosecutor Joe Alexis displayed her son's 9-millimeter gun to jurors and portrayed him as a reckless killer during his manslaughter trial in the death of Akai Gurley.
Liang's mother, Fenny Liang: I still feel upset.
Q: How is Peter doing?
Fenny Liang: So really upset.
"She's just asking for a fair trial — absolutely a fair trial that all of the evidence entered as facts and not repackaged," said Christine Leung, a Liang family friend.
Fenny Liang's anger turned to tears as she talked about the case inside Lin Sing Association in Chinatown, not far from where Peter Liang grew up.
A friend of the convicted police officer, Adele Chen, was also angry and in tears.
"All lives matters. I'm so tired of hearing, 'Black Lives Matter;' all lives matter, no matter if you're white, black, Hispanic, Asian," Chen said. "I'm so tired of this."
Echoing the concerns of some who have criticized the prosecution, Chen said Liang was charged and convicted because he is a person of color.
"If the cop was white, he would have not been convicted," Chen said. "Because there are so many cases that the cops are white and they have not been convicted for the crimes. So why is this one Asian being convicted for what he has accidently done?"
Liang's defense team says it wants the manslaughter conviction tossed because Gurley's shooting death in a dark stairwell was an accident.
"We intend to first make a motion in order to set aside the verdict," defense attorney Robert E. Brown said. "And then if that fails, we plan to appeal."
"One of the things that we also plan on doing if the judge doesn't set aside the verdict, is we plan on asking the judge to sentence Peter to probation," Brown continued.
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said what happened was an accident, and that the city needs to step up its efforts to improve public housing buildings.
"We've been talking about putting lights in the stairwell, locks on the lobby doors, and cleaning those buildings up for 32 years. It's time we actually did it," Lynch said.
"Because it puts police officers in a dangerous situation," Lynch continued. "And it leaves those residents in a dangerous situation, where in their homes they can't even go down the stairwell because they can't see, crime is going on, it's dirty."
Lynch also says he believes that the verdict will have a chilling effect on police officers across the city.
Peter Liang's attorneys say his union delegates and friends from Police Service Area Number 2, where he used to work, have been by his side since the verdict, keeping a close watch on him because he's been very depressed.
Friday, the day after Liang's conviction, the police department fired his partner, Shaun Landau, who testified for the prosecution after receiving immunity.
Both police officers admitted to not doing CPR on Gurley after he was shot.
Liang is slated to be sentenced April 14. He faces up to 15 years in prison.