Brooklyn DA announces case against NYPD cop who shot Akai Gurley will go to grand jury

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Death of Man Shot by Cop in Brooklyn Stairwell Ruled a Homicide

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson will announce Friday afternoon that he is impaneling a grand jury to consider charges in the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn apartment complex.

Thompson's office has been looking into the incident since Gurley, 28, was killed last month. Gurley was shot by a police officer in a darkened public housing stairwell. Police say he and his girlfriend had opened a door into a stairway, and a rookie officer patrolling the pitch-dark stairwell with his gun drawn fired.

"I expect to present evidence regarding the November 20, 2014 shooting of Akai Gurley to a grand jury because it is important to get to the bottom of what happened," Thompson said in a statement.

"There is no timetable for the grand jury to be impaneled or for its determination to be reached. I pledge to conduct a full and fair investigation and to give the grand jury all of the information necessary to do its job.

That information is still being gathered. As to those who have called for a Special Prosecutor to handle this case, I respectfully disagree. I was elected by the people of Brooklyn to do this job without fear or favor and that is exactly what I intend to do."

Gurley's wake, where the Rev. Al Sharpton plans to deliver the eulogy, is Friday evening. He will be laid to rest Saturday.

It all comes at the end of a tumultuous week for the city following a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man.

The medical examiner has ruled Gurley's death a homicide and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson has called the shooting "deeply troubling," saying the shooting warrants a fair investigation.

Gurley's family, in town from Florida, spoke publicly for the first time Friday.

"It hurts, it hurts so bad," Gurley's mother, Sylvia Palmer, said. "The night my son was murdered, he went out to get his hair braided to come home and surprise me for Thanksgiving. Now, there will never be another Thanksgiving."

The shooting was ruled an accidental discharge, but Gurley's parents call it murder. Family spokesperson Kevin Powell calls the incident the latest in a pattern of reckless disregard by the NYPD.

"The Daily News just reported today that six and half minutes went by from the time that Akai Gurley was shot and actually any kind of communication between the two officers," he said. "We know that instead, the officer texted Peter Liang, texted his union rep instead of calling for help once Mr. Gurley was shot."

The details were too much for Gurley's parents right now as they prepare for a dignified farewell.

"He was going to bring home my granddaughter to visit me for the first time in two years," Palmer said. "And now I'll never get the opportunity to spend any time with my son and my grandbaby."

"I'm going to think about the memories of my son and of the tragic path of my son," dad Kenneth Palmer said.

The wake is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill. He will be laid to rest at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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Cop texted after accidental shooting
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Brooklyn DA announces case against NYPD cop who shot Akai Gurley will go to grand jury
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
New York, New York, USA. 23rd Nov, 2014. Akai Gurley was killed mistakenly by the police in Brooklyn, NY, at the Louis Pink Houses, a dangerous housing project. photo by John M. Mantel © John Marshall Mantel/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
Messages from mourners adorn a memorial to Akai Gurley who was shot to death by rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang at the Louis Pink Houses public housing complex, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police have described Gurley's death as an apparent accident. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A man who identified himself as a detective with the district attorney's office inspects the area in a stairwell where a man was allegedly shot by a police officer the night before at the Louis Pink Houses public housing complex, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Brooklyn borough of New York. A rookie police officer with his gun drawn shot to death 28-year-old Akai Gurley, an unarmed, innocent man in the darkened stairwell of the crime-ridden public housing complex, New York City police officials said Friday. The shooting appeared to be an accident, Police Commissioner William Bratton said at a news conference. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A resident, left, passes by as members of the New York City Housing Authority wait for an elevator while fixing light fixtures in the stairway of the building where a man was allegedly shot by a police officer the night before at the Louis Pink Houses public housing complex, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Brooklyn borough of New York. A rookie police officer with his gun drawn shot to death 28-year-old Akai Gurley, an unarmed, innocent man in the darkened stairwell of the crime-ridden public housing complex, New York City police officials said Friday. The shooting appeared to be an accident, Police Commissioner William Bratton said at a news conference. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Police officers stand guard at the Public Service Area #2 building as demonstrators arrive in protest of the shooting death of Akai Gurley by rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang at the Louis Pink Houses public housing complex, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police have described Gurley's death as an apparent accident. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators march in protest of the shooting death of Akai Gurley by rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang at the Louis Pink Houses public housing complex, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police have described Gurley's death as an apparent accident. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Front pages of the NY Times, the NY Daily News, and the NY Post on report on the shooting of Akai Gurley in a stairway
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