BROOKLYN — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams plans to meet Tuesday afternoon with black and Asian business leaders in an effort to diffuse tensions ahead of sentencing for disgraced ex-NYPD Officer Peter Liang.
Adams, a former NYPD captain, will have a private meeting with Asian and black business leaders Tuesday before holding a press conference with ex-city Comptroller John Liu and Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Roy Hastick at his Borough Hall office.
The appearance will happen a day before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun is slated to sentence Liang on his manslaughter conviction in the November 2014 fatal shooting of unarmed Akai Gurley in a public housing stairwell in November 2014.
Prosecutors said Liang never rendered aid to Gurley after discharging his weapon in a dark stairwell of the Pink Houses in East New York, in what defense attorneys called a failure of training in the NYPD's police academy.
Liang fought with his partner after pulling the trigger, waiting four minutes before calling for aid, prosecutors said.
Gurley's girlfriend told jurors that she was the only one who administered CPR until emergency workers arrived.
Liang's initial guilty verdict was celebrated by Gurley’s family and many black community leaders but panned by many in the Asian community including Councilwoman Margaret Chin.
However, that changed last month when Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson — who had pushed aggressively for an indictment in the case — recommended that Liang be spared prison time, in a move that outraged Gurley’s family and community activists.
Liang's lawyers have already begun their appeals process, and plan to ask Judge Chun on Wednesday to toss the conviction after they say juror Michael Vargas lied about his family’s history during jury selection.
The lawyers say Vargas, 62, shouldn’t have been on the jury panel because he never disclosed that his father served prison time for accidentally shooting a friend to death years ago, which could have been used by defense attorneys to exclude him from the trial's jury.
Liang faces up to 15 years at sentencing.