BROOKLYN — Lawyers for ex-NYPD officer Peter Liang filed a motion Tuesday asking to overturn his conviction because he had not been given proper CPR training, according to court papers.
Liang, 28, was found guilty of manslaughter in February for fatally shooting Akai Gurley, 28, in a dimly lit Pink Houses stairwell in East New York in 2014. Neither Liang or his partner, Shaun Landau, performed CPR on Gurley after realizing he had been shot.
The officer who trained Liang, Melissa Brown, 35, was stripped of her badge and gun pending an internal NYPD investigation into her CPR instruction.
"At its core, the People’s case was premised on the notion that Peter Liang should have performed CPR on Mr. Gurley (even though it would have been useless)," Liang’s appellate lawyer, Paul Shechtman wrote in the motion, which was first reported by the New York Post.
“If the People continue to press a ‘he-should-have-performed-CPR’ theory in response to this motion, it would be to punish an officer for not performing a task he was not trained to do.”
The rookie officer argued with Landau for about four minutes about who would radio in the shooting before realizing Gurley had been shot.
Shechtman also asserted that Liang clearly fired his gun by mistake in a dark stairwell.
"Officer Liang’s every action shows that he had no knowledge that anyone was in the stairwell and that the shot was unintentional," the lawyer wrote.
Neither Liang or Landau performed CPR on Gurley, leaving his girlfriend to try and resuscitate him with the help of a neighbor relaying instructions from a 911 operator.
Landau admitted during the trial that he was certified in CPR but did not know how to administer it.
"Officer Liang had no duty to take over for her, and no reason to believe that he was more capable at the task," the motion reads. "No police procedure required him to perform CPR, and he had received grossly inadequate training in it."
The NYPD has also decided to stop pairing rookie officers together to try and avoid further incidents from officers performing vertical patrols in public housing stairwells.
Liang faces up to 15 years in prison during his sentencing on April 14.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the motion.