DA wants probation for NY officer in stairwell shooting case

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson is recommending no jail time for former NYPD Officer Peter Liang, who was convicted of killing an unarmed man in an East New York stairwell.

Thompson said Wednesday that he believes a prison sentence isn't necessary for Liang, the 28-year-old rookie officer who accidentally shot and killed the unarmed Akai Gurley.

Gurley was killed in 2014 after Liang accidentally fired a shot into a stairwell while on a routine patrol. Prosecutors argued Liang's actions were reckless and that he shouldn't have had his gun out. Liang's lawyer said Gurley's death was tragic, but not a crime.

Thompson said a prison sentence is not warranted because Liang had no previous criminal history and would not pose a future threat to public safety. 

Thompson says justice will be served if Liang serves five years of probation. He will also recommend a term of home confinement and community service.

The type of manslaughter conviction Liang received normally carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. He is expected to be sentenced on April 14.

Attorney Scott Rynecki and Gurley's domestic partner, Kim Ballinger, praised the DA's ability to secure a conviction in the police-involved death. 

"Holding police accountable for wrongful acts is important to our community," he said in a statement. "We have faith in our system of justice."

As News 12 has previously reported, Ballinger and Gurley's family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Liang and his partner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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