First, let me say unequivocally that Akai Gurley's family should have every bit of justice for his death. No one deserves to be shot in a dark stairwell because the elevator went out and they decided to take the stairs doing nothing wrong whatsoever.
Police systems at some point need to figure out how to patrol - and who to put on patrol - without endangering lives.
I'm not saying it's easy.
But they have to figure it out.
Now that the verdict has come out and Liang has been found guilty of manslaughter and official misconduct I do hope that it brings some peace to the family and friends of Akai Gurley. I hope that it offers them at least some comfort because at the end of the day Akai Gurley's life is gone.
Peter Liang still has a chance to live a very long life.
I Think We Can Still Ask Questions Though. I Think I Can Still Ask Questions As An Asian American
- Was Peter Liang Racially Motivated Or Was Race A Factor In The Death Of Akai Gurley? I think we have to be careful in making any assumptions about the actual shooting and those precious minutes afterwards that eventually led to the death of Akai Gurley. I think to compare it to the countless numbers of White officers who have shot, beaten, or choked to death, unarmed Black men, women, and children in this country, would be wrong. To look at this incident and say that it's indicative of that type of racial profiling - systematic profiling - and is on the same level - it can't be said. The data just isn't there to say that Asian American cops disregard Black Lives and shoot them down like White cops and I think to even draw a thread to that argument only serves to misdirect from the real issues which stem from predominantly White Officers in regard to Black Lives (because police brutality and power in general is a somewhat different conversation).
- Is Peter Liang A Scapegoat For All Of The Officers Who Have Went Without Punishment For Taking Black Lives? I believe that Peter Liang has to be held accountable for the shooting no matter what. It goes without saying and I don't think you can argue that. If I'm a bus driver and I accidentally run someone over I would still have to be held accountable. To me the question is really why only Peter Liang when so many other clear cut cases could have also produced the same results for other officers. When I ask that question, I do wonder if Peter Liang, because of being an Asian American - and all that goes along with it - is a symbolic sacrificial lamb in terms of a face - to help quell the hunger for more justice that will never be seen of White officers who took Black Lives.
To help shift that focus away.
Why did his partner get immunity? Why didn't he get charged with misconduct? Didn't he have responsibility to help Akai Gurley?
He did and he should have been on trial as well with Liang for his portion of negligence in Akai Gurley's death.
Should Liang's rookie status have been taken into account? Do we really know whether or not he and his partner patrolling as they were was truly unsanctioned? Was the jury more inclined to make an example and conviction of an Asian American police officer more than a White officer?
I think you can respectfully debate those questions.
- Will This Make Relations Between Communities Of Color - specifically Black Americans and Asian Americans - tougher? Overall I'd like to say no to that question, but in reality it could for some communities and individuals. It's human nature. Hopefully though, cooler heads on both sides without a distorted lens on reality prevail and everyone can move forward in a positive way.