NY police officer indicted over shooting: Reports

2015-02-11 09:44
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New York - A grand jury has indicted a New York police officer over the death of an unarmed father of one in a Brooklyn stairwell, US media reported on Tuesday.

The fatal shooting of Akai Gurley was one of a series of deaths involving black men at the hands of police which sparked angry protests across the United States last year.

Those protests stepped up a gear when grand juries decided not to indict the officers responsible for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown in Missouri and father of six Eric Garner in New York.

But US television channels and websites said a Brooklyn grand jury had decided to indict officer Peter Liang over Gurley's death in a dimly lit stairwell last November.

The charges were not reported, but Liang is expected to surrender on Wednesday, local media said.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson will make an announcement on Wednesday immediately after an arraignment, but no further information will be released until then, his office announced.

Gurley, the 28-year-old father of a young daughter, had just entered the stairwell at a housing project in Brooklyn with his girlfriend when he was shot once in the chest on 20 November.

New York police almost immediately declared that his death was a "very unfortunate tragedy" and commissioner Bill Bratton described Gurley as a "total innocent".

Gurley died after opting for the stairs when the elevator took too long to arrive.

Liang, a rookie Asian-American officer, and his partner were conducting a routine patrol of the apartment building, which has been a scene of crime and homicides in the recent past.

After Liang discharged the bullet, he and partner Shaun Landau did not respond to radio contact for more than 6.5 minutes, the New York Daily News reported in December.

Thompson said in December that he would present all the evidence for a grand jury to decide whether charges should be brought.

US demonstrations in November and December occasionally turned violent as thousands of people took to the streets demanding police reform and penalties for officers who kill unarmed suspects.

Two New York police officers were shot dead before Christmas by a mentally disturbed man who claimed to be looking to avenge the deaths of black men at the hands of mostly white police officers.

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