SOHO — Councilwoman Margaret Chin issued a statement requesting "leniency" in the sentencing of the former NYPD officer convicted of killing an unarmed black man in a Brooklyn public housing stairwell.
Peter Liang shot Akai Gurley while patrolling a dimly lit NYCHA stairwell in 2014. The rookie officer was found guilty earlier this month of manslaughter by a mostly white jury and now faces up to 15 years in prison.
Chin, whose district covers Lower Manhattan, said that, "as a mother," her "heart goes out to Peter Liang and his family."
"I believe that the NYPD’s policy and training utterly failed Akai Gurley, as well as Peter Liang and his partner," Chin said in her statement. "Two rookie police officers should never have been placed on a vertical patrol in an unfamiliar, darkened stairwell."
The NYPD is already phasing out the program that regularly sent pairs of rookies into the highest-crime neighborhoods, as DNAinfo New York reported.
Referencing the dark stairwell where Liang shot Gurley, Chin blasted "the culture of neglect" in the city's public housing projects.
"Lack of funding and decades of indifference have turned hundreds of stairwells, elevators, and courtyards into danger zones that inspire fear — and often, terror — in both officers and the residents they are sworn to protect," Chin said.
Chin said she asked other council members to join her call for leniency. A spokesman for the councilwoman said that four of her colleagues had signed on, but the letter had only just been sent.