Peter Liang, the Chinese-American NYPD officer who shot an unarmed African-American man in November 2014, was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter on February 11. The decision has since sparked a widespread outrage among members of the Asian-American communities in New York City and other parts of the United States.
NYC cop Peter Liang found guilty of manslaughter https://t.co/P6FUIofmob pic.twitter.com/4UtGDuZ4RV
— CCTV America (@CCTV_America) February 12, 2016
Nearly 15,000 people showed up and rallied at Cadman Plaza Park in downtown Brooklyn, holding up protest signs and chanting “No scapegoat!” and “No justice, no peace!” among others.
His supporters maintain that Peter Liang did not intend to kill the victim, Akai Gurley, when he shot his gun into a dark stairwell and the bullet ricocheted before hitting Gurley. According to Liang’s testimony, he and his partner were on patrol in a Brooklyn housing project when he accidentally fired his gun after being startled by a noise.
In New York, thousands protest Officer Peter Liang’s manslaughter conviction https://t.co/X04nQT3AWi pic.twitter.com/g3M1kBx3g7
— NYT Metro Desk (@NYTMetro) February 20, 2016
At one point during the rally, Peter’s mother, Fenny Liang took the microphone and offered her condolences to Gurley’s family. Other attendees, however, were more vocal and assertive in their protest.
The rally was organized by the Coalition of Asian-Americans for Civil Rights or CAACR. Apart from New York, protest gatherings among Asian-American communities in other American cities were also held. In Philadelphia, about 2,000 protesters showed up in Center City on Saturday.
Supporters of Peter Liang insist that he is being used as a “scapegoat” of recent anti-police politics and that his conviction is merely an attempt at pacifying the public regarding police brutality. Attendees were urged to sign a petition that will hopefully convince the New York Supreme Court to grant Liang’s case an appeal.
Thousands of protesters think the NYPD is using this Chinese cop as a scapegoat https://t.co/g8Oj08Q4Tf
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 21, 2016
Meanwhile, a counter protest was also held by the Black Lives Matters movement in New York. Several African-Americans expressed their approval of the jury’s decision and claimed that Peter Liang was not a “scapegoat.”
Peter Liang now faces five to fifteen years in prison.