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Judge Rejects Mistrial Motion for Ex-police Officer Peter Liang

(CRI Online)    09:57, April 16, 2016

A New York judge has rejected a mistrial motion for ex-New York City police officer Peter Liang, who was convicted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.

Supreme Court Justice Denny Chun's ruling means that Peter Liang will be sentenced on April 19th.

Liang was convicted in February in the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Akai Gurley in the darkened stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project in 2014.

The officer had been on a routine patrol, when he opened a door to a stairwell and accidentally fired his weapon. The bullet ricocheted and struck Gurley, who died at the scene.

Wu Yiping is the organizer of the Coalition of Asian-Americans for Civil Rights (CAACR).

"I am really unsatisfied with the judgment of the court today. I cannot say the judgment is not fair, but my heart is heavy seeing such a judgment even with the juror having such a big defect."

The "defect" Wu mentioned refers to the fact that Juror No.9, Michael Vargas, might have withheld information during the jury selection process.

Liang's attorneys argued that Vargas told lawyers that no one in his family had been accused of a crime. But after the verdict, he said that his father was sent to prison for accidentally shooting and killing a friend.

Liang's sentencing was delayed while the judge listened to both sides. But after a two-day hearing on the juror, Chun said that Vargas had not deliberately lied.

The court sentenced Liang in February to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors later proposed a probation of five years, resulting in protests from many from African-American communities.

Soon after, people from both Chinese and African-American communities made statements, saying the sentencing will not divide the two parties.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams delivered a speech during a meeting with Asian and African community leaders.

"We are clear that the incident that took place in 2014 on the stairwell of the Pink Houses was an incident that took place between two men. The future depends on the commitment of two communities. We will not allow what took place at that tragedy to divide and separate our communities. The purpose of the meeting today was to send a loud message that no matter what happens at this sentencing, it would not divide our community."

Wu Yiping with the CAACR echoes those beliefs.

"I have talked with African-Americans about many problems days ago. We want to get along well with African-Americans. I will not break off communication with African-Americans just because of a few people's behavior this year."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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