by Hertencia Petersen

English /// 中文
Translator: Enbion Micah Aan
Photo Credit: Enbion Micah Aan

New Bloom presents an open letter from Hertencia Petersen, the aunt of Akai Gurley, regarding Gurley’s killing by Chinese-American NYPD officer Peter Liang, which has been much discussed in the Asian-American community.

New Bloom previously ran a feature on Petersen in our photo column, Seeds, and has written at length about the Peter Liang trial and reactions to it in both Chinese and English.

CONFUCIUS ONCE said:  “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.”

On February 11, 2016, a jury of Peter Liang’s peers convicted him of 2nd degree manslaughter, the verdict was correct, and the prosecution provided countless experts and witnesses.

We are here today because some individual do not agree with the verdict, we are here today because others think Peter Liang should not be held accountable. I am here today because my nephew Akai Gurley was murdered by a fearful rookie cop, Peter Liang, who recklessly stepped into a dark stairwell with his finger on that trigger—and because of that recklessness Akai Gurley is not here today. 

You cannot go around murdering innocent people and not be held accountable.  It is distasteful and blatantly disrespectful to misuse the Martin Luther King quote of “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” as many have during protests in support of Liang.

Let’s talk about the injustice done to Akai Gurley by Peter Liang:

1.) Peter Liang entered a dark stairwell with his finger on the trigger. Where was the threat to Peter or his partner?

2.) Peter Liang, after recklessly discharging his weapon, went back into the stairwell to not only look for the bullet but the casing to cover up the incident.

3.) After arguing with his partner, Shaun Landau, about what just happened, he was more concerned about being fired than trying to administer aid to the dying man.

4.) After hearing someone crying on the lower floors of the apartment building, that is when they went to investigate.  Seeing Akai receiving CPR through instructions via telephone, they walked around Akai’s body as he was lying in his own blood and urine. Not once did they administer CPR.

So I ask you, Peter Liang, where is justice for Akai Gurley? You did not show any type of remorse or sympathy towards the dying man. You couldn’t look him in the eyes, the coward you are.

You, Peter Liang, were the threat to justice. You committed an injustice to Akai Gurley. No matter what color, sex, or creed, you must be held accountable. A jury of your peers held you accountable!

In the words of Martin Luther King: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Akai Gurley’s life mattered to this family and you have taken that away from us.

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