THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF COUNCIL MEMBER
JUMAANE D. WILLIAMS
Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader and co-chair of the Council's Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, released the following statement after New York Police Department (NYPD) rookie officer Peter Liang has been indicted in the shooting death of Akai Gurley, 28, in East New York.
STATEMENT FROM COUNCIL MEMBER WILLIAMS
"First and foremost, my continued prayers for comfort and healing go out to Akai Gurley's family and friends, including those who witnessed this tragedy unfold. I applaud Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and the grand jury for indicting Officer Liang, but feel conflicted that such praise should be made since it was clear that an unarmed, innocent life was lost. In a case like this, an indictment should be the norm, not the exception. No matter what ones profession may be, all Americans must be held accountable for killing an innocent person, even if the person who is held accountable is an officer of the law-- even if it was unintentional.
"I still, however, I question why the rookie officer was assigned to patrol the 'high crime' area with another rookie officer. A 'dimly lit' staircase leading to an 'accident' exemplifies all that is wrong with our public safety system: a systemic problem within the department's culture, poor police-community relations in Black and Brown neighborhoods and an overly zealous ethos for excessive force. These are things we must continue to question and discuss as we move forward. We must also remember that this is simply an indictment and does not guarantee that accountability will prevail. It is my hope that our Administration immediately implements real and clear policy changes to improve how NYPD operates on the ground."
Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader, represents the 45th Council District, which covers Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, and parts of Midwood. He is the chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, and co-chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence. He is a co-founding member of the Progressive Caucus, and a member of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus. He was first elected to office in 2009 and re-elected in 2013.