February 12, 2016 | 1:57am
By Larry Celona, Shawn Cohen and Joe Tacopino
|New York City Police officer Peter Liang reacts as the verdict is read during his trial.|
Police unions blasted the guilty verdict against Officer Peter Liang Thursday, claiming it will hinder the efforts of cops who risk their lives while trying to prevent bloodshed.
“We are very disappointed in the verdict and believe that the jury came to an absolutely wrong decision,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. “This bad verdict will have a chilling effect on police officers across the city because it criminalizes a tragic accident.”
The president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Ed Mullins, went so far as to call for the city to end vertical patrols in public housing, a policy Liang was carrying out when he fatally shot Akai Gurley in a stairwell in November 2014.
“Commissioner [Bill] Bratton, who so often brags of the evolution of policing, now needs to suspend the efforts of vertical patrol and re-evaluate his policy,” Mullins said.
Two cops were shot in a stairwell while conducting a vertical patrol in The Bronx last week.
Mullins, claiming the guilty verdict will destroy Liang’s life, added, “Sadly a young, nonbiased Asian officer lost his own life today for trying to protect people who live in one of the most violent public-housing projects in the City of New York.”
Mayor de Blasio, meanwhile, called for calm.
“The death of Akai Gurley was a tragedy,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The jury has now spoken and we respect its decision. We hope today’s outcome brings some closure to the Gurley family after this painful event.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton called the verdict a “somber moment.”
“I appreciate the hard work that District Attorney [Ken] Thompson and the jury in this case took in the pursuit of justice,” Sharpton said in a statement. “I hope we can all work equally as hard in the pursuit of healing and peace.”
Thompson said outside the Brooklyn courthouse that “there are no winners here but justice was done.”
“Akai Gurley’s life mattered,” Thompson said. “I told his mother in the courtroom, ‘I’m sorry.’ Because she lost her son.”