Brooklyn Street Renamed To Honor Akai Gurley, A Black Man Fatally Shot By NYPD Cop In 2014
The ceremony took place seven years after the killing of Gurley.
December 01, 2021 at 7:47 pm
A street renaming ceremony took place in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood to commemorate Akai Gurley, a Black man who was shot and killed by a New York Police Department officer.
In 2014, Gurley, 28, was fatally shot by rookie officer Peter Liang who was patrolling the Pink Houses project in New York, according to Liberation News. He was unarmed at the time of his death, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The officer was patrolling an unlit stairwell in Brooklyn when he fired his weapon and a bullet ricocheted off a wall, wounding Gurley. Liang and his partner were accused of carrying out an illegal vertical patrol, where officers descend from the top of the building to each floor.
Liang, then 27, was eventually convicted of manslaughter as a result of his actions, L.A. Times reports.
The ceremony took place near the Pink Houses project on Nov. 20, which marked the seventh anniversary of Gurley’s death. The street in his honor will now be named Akai Gurley Way.
The event also commemorated Gurley’s legacy and served as a push for justice for the lives taken at the hands of police.
“In some small way we’re gonna get something,” Gurley's aunt, Hertencia Petersen, told Liberation News.“I’m so elated and overwhelmed that the community came out.”
Gurley and his girlfriend, Kimberly Ballinger, entered the dimly lit seventh-floor stairwell 14 steps below the officers. After Liang heard a noise in the dark area, he fired his weapon, killing Gurley after a bullet penetrated his chest.
On this day in 2014 at the age of 28, Akai Gurley, was tragically and senselessly killed while walking down the stairwell of his apartment building with his girlfriend.— Black Voters Matter (@BlackVotersMtr) November 20, 2021
Learn more at: https://t.co/lV96Q22hIC pic.twitter.com/ZeVLOM3OZI
Liang was convicted in Feb. 2016, however, he served no time behind bars after a prosecutor requested no prison time.
Though he faced up to nearly 15 years in prison, Liang received only five years probation and was required to complete 800 hours of community service, according to the L.A. Times.
Former New York Comptroller John Liu emphasized the importance of police responsibility, saying, "It's about holding police officers accountable."