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Chinese-American experts express concerns over conviction of former policeman

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-02-22 09:28

Chinese-American experts express concerns over conviction of former policeman

About 10,000 protesters, many of them Chinese-Americans, rally in New York on Saturday in support of former police officer Peter Liang, who was convicted of the 2014 fatal shooting of an unarmed man in a public housing building. XIE YUNAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

LOS ANGELES - Three Chinese-American legal experts have expressed serious concerns over the recent conviction of a Chinese-American policeman for accidently shooting dead a black man in New York that has sparked strong protests in the Chinese-American community.

In separate interviews with Xinhua, Attorney David Qinghua Cao in Houston, Attorney Hugh H. Mo in New York and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Lieutenant Yin Leung all raised objections to the Feb 11 conviction of Police Officer Peter Liang.

At the trial held in the Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn, 10 out of 12 members of the jury voted for the conviction of Liang. The 28-year-old officer with the New York Police Department (NYPD) was found guilty for fatally shooting unarmed Akai Gurley while patrolling with his partner on the darkened eighth floor of the Pink Houses in the borough of Brooklyn.

One bullet was shot out of Liang's service gun, ricocheted on a wall and killed Gurley.

Liang, working for the NYPD for only 18 months, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, becoming the first policeman from the NYPD to be convicted of homicide for shooting a civilian since 2005.

In response to the conviction, a huge demonstration crowd of approximately 10,000 people protested around Los Angeles City Hall on Saturday against the conviction of Liang, amid rallies by tens of thousands of people in more than 30 US cities.

In his interview with Xinhua, Attorney David Qinghua Cao saw the verdict as "very disturbing," saying that "the evidence was mishandled, resulting in the jury's misled and, accordingly, unjustified verdict."

"For example, as juror Carlton Screen told the media, only 10 of all 12 jurors voted for conviction, and it was only after every juror tested the trigger of officer Liang's service pistol that they unanimously agreed that Liang was guilty as charged, because they felt the trigger was too hard to pull," Cao said, "In other words, Officer Liang must have voluntarily and consciously fired the gun."

The attorney also questioned the conditions the jurors faced, which were different from what Liang had encountered.

"How can jurors, with different individual constitutions and most having no experience with firearms, determine in a safe courtroom whether the trigger was too hard to pull for a robust young officer, who must have fired hundreds, if not thousands, of rounds through that gun during his training, on a highly stressful situation like that dark stairwell in a high-crime area?" he said, "That was doing officer Liang injustice."

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