According to a prosecution document revealed in Brooklyn Supreme Court yesterday, rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang waited nearly 20 minutes to radio for help after he fatally shot Akai Gurley in a darkened stairwell of the Pink Houses in East New York last November.
Liang's trial commenced this week, and the document in question offers the most detailed account to date of the shooting and its immediate aftermath. Presented with this evidence, the NY Times reports, Justice Danny K. Chun denied a motion to dismiss the officer's charges on Tuesday. Liang was charged with second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in February.
The document, which includes testimony from Liang's partner Officer Shaun Landau and Gurley's girlfriend Melissa Butler, posits that Liang accidentally discharged his firearm at approximately 11:00 p.m., and didn't radio for help until 11:19. Immediately after the shot was fired, Officer Landau says that he heard running footsteps in the hallway below. Then, "Officer Landau asked defendant, 'What the fuck happened?' Defendant asserted that 'It went off by accident' and repeatedly said he would be fired."
Landau and Liang then spent two minutes arguing about who should call in the incident, according to the document. In the meantime, Gurley was bleeding out on the stairwell's fifth floor landing. Butler ran for help, knocking on neighbors' doors, one of whom called 911 at 11:14. Butler returned to the stairwell, where Gurley was still alive, and put pressure on Gurley's wound.
Then, as Butler attempted to perform CPR with guidance from a 911 operator on the phone, Landau and Liang stepped around Gurley and Butler and proceeded down the stairs. From the document:
Defendant and Officer Landau had both received training and been certified on performing CPR. Officer Landau was aware that, when necessary, police officers are required to perform CPR. However, neither defendant nor officer Landau provided any medical care to Mr. Gurley. Nor did they summon an ambulance for Mr. Gurley. Instead, defendant and Officer Landau walked around Mr. Gurley and Mr. Butler on the fifth floor landing and went down to the fourth-floor landing.
Liang finally radioed for NYPD backup at 11:19 and 46 seconds. In an interview with the Times, Liang's lawyer Stephen Worth said that Liang was hyperventilating in the aftermath of the shooting, and was "too distraught" to help Gurley.
This latest account of Gurley's shooting does not confirm earlier reports that Officer Liang texted his union representative before calling for assistance.