Peter Liang, the former New York Police Department officer convicted of accidentally killing Akai Gurley, has apologized to Gurley’s partner for his actions.
According to The Washington Post, Liang and his legal team arranged a meeting with Gurley’s girlfriend, Kimberly Ballinger. Liang apologized for his actions and shook Ballinger’s hand in a meeting that lasted five minutes.
“He said he was very sorry, that he knows how difficult it is to lose a loved one and that this was the last thing he could have ever imagined happening,” said Paul Shechtman, Liang’s lawyer, in a Washington Post article.
Speaking through her attorney, Scott Rynecki, Ballinger said the shooting has changed her life.
“She no longer has a partner, and her life has been turned upside down,” said Rynecki in an interview with The New York Times. “And she let him know that Akai was a good, innocent man and a good father. The fact that he says he’s sorry didn’t bring Akai back.”
Liang, a rookie police officer was patrolling a crime-ridden Brooklyn housing project in 2014, when he was startled by a noise. His gun went off since his finger was on the trigger. The ricocheting bullet killed Gurley. By having his finger on the trigger, Liang was in violation of police policy.
In February, a jury convicted Liang of second-degree manslaughter. But Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson recommended Liang not serve any time in prison. That decision outraged Gurley’s family, according to The New York Times.
“We are outraged at District Attorney Thompson’s inadequate sentencing recommendation,” according to a statement from the family. “Officer Liang was convicted of manslaughter and should serve time in prison for his crime. This sentencing recommendation sends the message that police officers who kill people should not face serious consequences.”
Gurley family members also said Liang’s apology did not go far enough.
“That apology is not something that the family accepts,” said Shavon Ford, Gurley’s cousin, in an interview with ABC-7. “That apology does nothing. It does nothing to absolve Peter Liang from shooting and killing Akai Gurley. So he apologizes now over a year later after the incident.”
According to The Atlanta Black Star, Ballinger has filed a $200,000 lawsuit against New York City claiming they failed to properly train the police officers. Neither of the officers on the scene provided CPR to the stricken Gurley.