Justice For Peter Liang Protest Ignores Justice For Akai Gurley

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Today, thousands gathered in support of Peter Liang, the NYPD officer who shot and killed Akai Gurley, and was recently convicted of manslaughter and other charges by a Brooklyn jury. When family and supporters of Akai Gurley arrived to counter protest, they were booed, cursed at, flipped off, and told to leave.

Protesters at the rally and on-line said they want the judge to dismiss the manslaughter charge against Liang, and believe that he was only convicted because he is Chinese-American – that racism skewed justice and he would not have been convicted if he were white or black.

While the claim that white officers are less likely to be prosecuted may be true, in at least two parallel high profile police murders last year, black officers were quickly indicted while white officers never were.

Liang’s prosecution and conviction was far more likely the result of the nationwide movement against police brutality than an anti-Chinese-American sentiment among Brooklyn jurors.

The rallying cry of the demonstration was “Equal Justice For All” and many signs at the event featured Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

However, the call for “equal justice for all” ignored that the family of Akai Gurley has repeatedly, publicly called for justice in the form of the very conviction they were protesting.

When the Gurley family heard news of the protest, Akai Gurley’s aunt Hertencia Petersen, better known as Auntie Gurley, quickly organized a counter-protest and released this statement:


While many signs at the protest expressed sympathy for the Gurley family, when Auntie Gurley’s counter-protest arrived, they were immediately booed. Liang supporters ripped signs from the counter-protesters hands and destroyed them.

When Auntie Gurley attempted to speak, boos and profanity drowned out most of what she said, and the Liang supporters surrounding her flipped her off and told her to leave.

Protesters with the counter-demonstration have been calling for the prosecution of officers who have killed unarmed civilians across the country over the last year, regardless of race.

They said that vacating the charge against Liang just because other, white officers have not been convicted of crimes for killing unarmed civilians would not be equal justice, but equal injustice.

African-Americans continue to be killed by police at three times the rate of white or Asian-Americans, and are three times more likely to be unarmed when killed.

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One thought on “Justice For Peter Liang Protest Ignores Justice For Akai Gurley”

  1. The two contentions are not mutually exclusive. You can claim that the Liang sentencing was influenced by the racial bias of the largely white jury AND also claim that justice should be served for Gurley; that Liang should go to jail for what he did. I am concerned that the NYPD and others are trying to pit Asians against blacks — and they are misrepresenting both sides to make this happen.

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