It appears that the nearly two-year public saga surrounding the police shooting of 28-year-old Akai Gurley is coming to an end. New York City officials have settled the wrongful death claim that Gurley’s family filed after former NYPD officer Peter Liang shot and killed the unarmed Black man in a stairwell in Brooklyn’s Louis H. Pink Houses back in November 2014.
The New York Daily News reports that the city agreed to pay $4.1 million into a fund for Gurley’s daughter, Akaila, which she will be able to access when she turns 18. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which manages the Pink Houses, will contribute an additional $400,000. Liang will pay Akaila’s mom, Kimberly Ballinger, $25,000. The agreement was reached yesterday (August 15) after two months of negotiations, led by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dawn Jimenez-Salta.
Liang was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, second-degree reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide and official misconduct in February. His conviction sparked Asian Americans around the nation to protest, arguing that he was a scapegoat for an out of touch police department. The charges could have carried up to 15 years in prison, but he was ultimately sentenced to five years of probation and 800 hours of community service.
The wrongful death suit accused Liang and partner Shaun Landau of being reckless and negligent on that November night. It also charged NYCHA with not fixing the light in the dark stairwell where Liang fired on Gurley as he walked with Ballinger.
This is New York City’s third high-profile settlement in recent months. In January 2015, the city paid Ramarley Graham’s family $3.9 million after officer Richard Haste killed the 18-year-old. And later that year, it settled with Eric Garner’s family for $5.9 million following his death at the hands of officer Daniel Pantaleo. Neither Haste nor Pantaleo was convicted.