Rookie NYPD cop texted union before calling 911 after accidentally shooting innocent man
By RYAN GORMAN
A New York police officer who shot a man dead in a Brooklyn housing project texted his union before calling 911, a new report has revealed.
Akai Gurley, 28, was gunned down November 20 by rookie cop Peter Liang. The officer then texted his union representative before calling paramedics to tend to the dying Gurley, sources told the New York Daily News.
Liang fired one shot, then he and his partner went radio silent for more than six minutes, according to the paper. A 911 operator who knew the duo was in the building was even unable to reach them during their minutes off-the-grid.
"That's showing negligence," a law enforcement source told the Daily News. "The guy is dying and you still haven't called it in?"
Text messages received by the police union also showed both officers had no clue which building they were in, the source revealed. They were in the notorious Louis Pink Houses, in the East New York section of the borough, according to reports.
Liang and Shaun Landau, his partner, encountered Gurley while on an interior patrol referred to as "verticals" by police.
A superior officer, Deputy Inspector Miguel Iglesias, had previously barred them from such patrols, the source added. The preferred strategy was to remain outside unless summoned to an emergency.
"But Iglesias' philosophy was, 'I want a presence on the street, in the courtyards - and if they go into the buildings they were just supposed to check out the lobby," said the source.
Iglesias was reportedly furious the pair had gone against his wishes and entered the building, leading to the shooting incident.
The shooting was accidental. The officers Glock .9mm went off as he opened the door while holding a flashlight because the lights were out. The bullet actually ricocheted off the concrete wall and struck Gurley as he took the stairs with his girlfriend. She was reportedly not injured.
An attorney for Gurley's family has called the incident criminally negligent and told the Daily News he would be surprised if it does not reach a grand jury.
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson will present the case to a grand jury later this month. The city Medical Examiner's Office has already ruled the death a homicide.
The disturbing details surrounding Gurley's shooting death were made public as the city is in the midst of days of protests over a grand jury's decision to not indict the cop who many believe put Staten Island father Eric Garner in a chokehold that led to his death.
Gurley's funeral is scheduled for Sunday.
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