A demonstrator looks on a memorial to Akai Gurley who was shot to death by rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang at the Louis Pink Houses public housing complex, Nov. 22, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
John Minchillo—AP
By Justin Worland
December 5, 2014

A grand jury will decide whether to indict the New York City police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project last month, the local prosecutor said Friday.

The news, reported by the Wall Street Journal, follows on the heels of protests over grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in New York City and Ferguson, Mo.

Akai Gurley, 28, was shot dead on Nov. 20 by rookie officer Peter Liang, who officials say discharged his weapon accidentally. Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s decision comes after conducting an investigation with the New York Police Department. The New York Daily News, citing unnamed sources, reports that Liang texted his union representative rather than calling for help as Gurley lay dying.

“I’m going to do it because it’s important to get to the bottom of what happened to Mr. Gurley, who was an innocent unarmed man who lost his life,” Thompson told the Journal of his decision to convene a grand jury. “So on behalf of the people of Brooklyn, we need to figure out and determine what exactly happened in that stairwell.”

[WSJ]

Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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