Statement on Officer Peter Liang

February 27, 2016

Linda Her
Executive Director

ST. PAUL, Minn. – This month, New York Police Officer Peter Liang was handed a guilty verdict for second-degree manslaughter and official misconduct in the shooting death of Akai Gurley.

A bullet accidentally discharged by Officer Liang in a New York housing project, according to the official report, struck Gurley, an unarmed black man. Officer Liang failed to provide medical assistance for the victim, who died shortly thereafter.

The indictment of Officer Liang has caused deep divisions within the Asian American community over alleged double standards and ‘scapegoating’ of a Chinese American police officer.

“We must remember that a criminal justice system that does not value Black lives, will not value Asian lives and the lives of Natives, transwomen of color and systematically marginalized people,” said Executive Director Linda Her. “Our message to demand justice and fairness should not continue to protect the violent values of this broken criminal justice system and its actors, but instead unveil the dangers and violence it has caused historically on Black lives and marginalized communities.”

In July 2006, Fong Lee, a 19-year Hmong American man was brutally shot and killed by a white Minneapolis police officer named Jason Andersen after being chased down while riding a bicycle with his friends. An all-white jury failed to find Officer Andersen guilty of excessive force.

Last November, the shooting death of a young unarmed black man named Jamar Clark, 24, sparked a wave of protests in the state and across the nation against police brutality and the militarization of law enforcement.

AAOP believes that all officers must be held accountable for their actions, no matter what their racial/ethnic background. The grand jury decision to indict Officer Liang is one we hope will set precedent for all future grand juries in officer-involved shooting cases.

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