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State Senator requests light sentence for Liang

( Updated: 2016-03-15 00:21

New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky on Monday called on Judge Danny Chun to issue a lenient sentence to Peter Liang, the former New York police officer convicted of manslaughter in the death of Akai Gurley.

In a letter to Chun released by her office on Monday, Stavisky, a Democrat who represents Flushing, pointed to inadequate training and the partnering of two rookie officers on a so-called vertical patrol in a Brooklyn public housing project where the shooting took place as contributing to the incident.

Liang, whose sentencing is scheduled for April 14, faces 15 years in prison, a sentence Stavisky said is too harsh, given the circumstances.

Liang and his partner were conducting the patrol on Nov 20, 2014, inside the Louis H. Pink Houses in the East New York neighborhood. Liang opened a door into an unlighted stairwell and his gun went off. The bullet glanced off a wall and hit Gurley, 28, who was walking down the stairs with his girlfriend, and pierced his heart.

Stavisky said her thoughts and prayers are with Gurley’s loved ones, "but Akai Gurley wasn’t the only victim here". Liang and his partner were inexperienced, inadequately trained and, as rookies, had no business conducting a vertical patrol in a darkened staircase, she said in her letter.

"We cannot scapegoat these two officers and ignore the NYPD protocols set in place. I am requesting Judge Chun to consider all the circumstances when he issues a sentence for Peter Liang," she wrote.

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