More than 10,000 protestors took to the streets in New York and other cities over the weekend to protest the conviction of NYPD officer Peter Liang for the manslaughter of 28-year-old Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man who Liang shot in the dark stairwell of an East New York housing commission building in 2014.
The protestors said Liang was being used as a scapegoat, and saw his conviction as unfair given the many cases over the last few years in which white police officers have not been convicted after killing unarmed black people.
“All the policemen have no punishment for all they did,” Tommy Shi, 30, told the New York Times at the march in Brooklyn. “Peter Liang is a scapegoat for all this.” He added: “That’s why we stand for Peter Liang.”
Organizers of the rallies said they sympathized with Gurley's family but that they believe the case against Liang was less clear-cut than many others. They carried signs that said "A tragedy not a crime" and "One tragedy, two victims." Liang's conviction carries a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison.