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Law And Order

NYPD officer found guilty of manslaughter in stairwell shooting

Peter Liang, the rookie New York Police Department officer who shot and killed an unarmed man inside a public housing stairwell in 2014, was found guilty Thursday of manslaughter.

Liang, 28, will be sentenced April 14. The charge carries up to 15 years in prison, and he was also convicted of official misconduct, a misdemeanor. Following the verdict, Liang was dismissed from the NYPD, a department spokesman said. Before the verdict, Liang's attorney requested to dismiss the charges, and a Brooklyn State Supreme Court judge has yet to make a ruling.

Liang testified that he was on patrol in a darkened Brooklyn public housing complex stairwell when he heard a sound that startled him. He said he was holding his gun safely, but tensed up and fired. He used his flashlight to look around the stairwell, and didn't see anyone, he testified, but later heard the cries of Akai Gurley, 28, who was hit by the bullet after it ricocheted off a wall. Prosecutors said Liang was handling his gun recklessly, and should have known the sound he heard was a person. They also said he did nothing to help Gurley's girlfriend, who was trying to offer medical assistance to Gurley. During the trial, two NYPD officers were shot and wounded in the stairway of a different public housing complex. The judge barred mention of the incident during the trial, The Associated Press reports.