The New York Police Department fired the former partner of ex-cop Peter Liang less than 24 hours after Liang was convicted of shooting an unarmed man in Brooklyn.
Shaun Landau, the terminated officer, testified for the prosecution during Liang’s trial.
Liang was convicted of manslaughter and official misconduct on Thursday for firing his gun in a darkened public housing stairwell in November 2014 as the two officers began a so-called ‘vertical patrol’.
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Shaun Landau (center, in court last week) was fired less than 24 hours after his former partner Peter Liang was convicted of shooting an unarmed black man in a darkened public housing stairwell
Landau avoided criminal charges by agreeing to testify under an immunity agreement during Liang’s (pictured) trial. The police department said he had been fired at the discretion of Commissioner Bill Bratton
The bullet ricocheted off a wall and struck Akai Gurley, 28, who had been walking one floor below with his girlfriend.
Neither officer offered medical assistance to Gurley once they realized he had been hit by the shot. Both testified that they felt unqualified to do so because of poor CPR training at the police academy.
Landau avoided criminal charges by agreeing to testify under an immunity agreement. The police department said he had been fired at the discretion of Commissioner Bill Bratton.
His termination came hours after the Gurley family released a statement calling for his dismissal. Liang was fired immediately after the jury’s verdict on Thursday.
Liang, who is Chinese-American, was not accused of deliberately killing Gurley.
At trial, he said he was startled by an unidentified sound as he entered the stairwell with his gun drawn, causing his finger to slip onto the trigger and fire.
Akai Gurley, 28 (pictured), was unarmed when he was shoot and killed by Peter Liang in 2014. He was the father of a two-year-old girl
He tearfully described his horror when he realized minutes later that Gurley had been hit.
But prosecutors accused him of deliberately firing toward the sound and ignoring the fact that only another person could have made such a noise.
They also said he acted recklessly in drawing his weapon in the first place.
Liang faces up to 15 years in prison at his sentencing in April.
His termination came hours after the Gurley family (pictured center) released a statement calling for his dismissal. Liang was fired immediately after the jury’s verdict on Thursday
Police-reform activists, who have come to expect disappointment any time an officer is accused in a killing, expressed surprise Friday over the conviction of a patrolman who shot an unarmed man in a housing project stairwell but said they don’t necessarily see the case as a turning point in the national debate over police accountability.
‘It’s definitely movement in the right direction,’ said Lumumba Bandele, a demonstrator who attended nearly every day of the patrolman’s trial.
But, he added, ‘It’s not a victory in the larger scale of having made significant advances. We have a backlog of cases that have yet to be investigated, much less indicted.’
It was the first time in a decade a New York Police Department officer was held responsible for a line-of-duty killing.
The outcome stood in stark contrast to many other cases around the country in which police have been accused of killing unarmed black men and boys.