New York City will pay $4.1 million to the family of Akai Gurley, the 26-year-old unarmed man who was shot in a darkened stairwell in his apartment building by a cop who negligently fired his gun.
The NYPD officer, Peter Liang, was convicted in February of manslaughter, but that judge reduced the charge to criminally negligent homicide and sentenced him to probation and 800 hours of community service.
However, Liang was also ordered to pay $25,000 to Kimberly Ballinger, the mother of Gurley’s daughter, Akalia, who was two years old when her father was killed on November 20, 2014.
The rest of the money will be placed in a fund for Akalia, which she can’t access without court approval until she turns 18.
On the night he was shot and killed, Gurley had stepped into the stairwell from the seventh floor of the building with Melissa Butler, his girlfriend at the time.
Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau, had stepped into the stairwell from the eighth floor. Liang had his gun drawn and his finger on the trigger and was apparently spooked by the sound of the others entering the stairwell from below because he fired once.
The bullet struck a wall and ricochetted, striking Gurley in the chest, causing him to tumble down to the fourth floor.
The two cops then walked down, stepped around the body and began arguing about who should call the supervisor as Gurley lay dying.
They both claimed they did not know how to perform CPR, even though they are supposedly trained to do that.
A neighbor called 911 and relayed CPR instructions to Butler as the two cops argued.
Initial reports said that Liang texted the police union after the shooting, but the district attorney and the NYPD said that was not true.
The New York City Housing Authority will pay $400,000 towards the settlement because they did not change a lightbulb in the stairwell, causing it to go dark, which made Liang fear for his life.
The elevator was also broken that day, which is why Gurley and Butler decided to take the stairs.