I Think The Liang Verdict Was Just. I'm An Asian American Who Believes Black Lives Matter

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Liang was sentenced to 800 hours of community service and five years' probation Tuesday after Judge Danny Chun reduced his manslaughter conviction to criminally negligent homicide in the shooting death of Gurley, 28, who was not armed [...] Liang, who was immediately fired after his conviction, on Tuesday apologized to Gurley's family.


In an earlier post I wrote that the family of Akai Gurley absolutely should get justice for his death, and that Liang, the department, and Liang's partner, should be held accountable. In the verdict, while there was no jail time:

  • There was a conviction
  • Liang has 5 years of probation (and will have to abide by all conditions of probation)
  • He was fired from the police force

While it may not be the verdict that some people wanted, or would look at as justice being served because there was no jail time - I think it was balanced - and it had to be.

I think this quote from the CNN article above speaks to that:
But Chun said that for manslaughter to stand, the prosecution had to prove that Liang not only "created a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a death would occur" but also that the the officer "was aware of and consciously disregarded that risk."

Peter Liang was a rookie. His partner Shaun Landau was a rookie (and has also been terminated from the police force). If we argue that police departments and officers have hard tasks at hand in their jobs - where they have to think in split seconds at times - there has to be room for how you would treat this incident and the overall experience of the officers because experience does matter.

I truly don't think you can argue on face value that this was an instance on the same level of a Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, or Jamar Clark - and I think it's important to make that distinction, because if not - they don't get the justice that they deserve in how we look at their cases.

At the same time - something I think worth mentioning - is that I don't think it's an either/or situation. I can still be an AAPI who stands for the rights and lives of Black Americans, but still be in disagreement with others on the verdict.

I just don't think it's as binary as that.