Ex-officer Peter Liang — who was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Akai Gurley — apologized to his victim’s partner Thursday, reports the New York Times.
The private, five-minute meeting comes on the heals of Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson’s recommendation to the Supreme Court justice presiding over Liang’s trial to spare the ex-officer from jail time — since the killing was an accident.
In a conference room at the DA’s office, Liang allegedly told Kimberly Ballinger, Gurley’s domestic partner and the mother of his 3-year-old daughter, that he was sorry, according to attorney’s for both parties.
“He said he was very sorry, that he knows how difficult it is to lose a loved one and that this” — the shooting — “was the last thing he could have ever imagined happening,” one of Mr. Liang’s lawyers, Paul Shechtman, said.
Ms. Ballinger in turn told Mr. Liang how the shooting had changed her life and that of her daughter with Mr. Gurley, Akaila, who is 3.
“Ms. Ballinger responded by letting him know that because of his actions that night, she now has a 3-year-old who doesn’t have a father,” Ms. Ballinger’s lawyer, Scott Rynecki, said. “She no longer has a partner, and her life has been turned upside down. And she let him know that Akai was a good, innocent man and a good father.”
As we’ve reported, 28-year-old Gurley died after Liang’s bullet discharged and ricocheted off a wall in a darkened stairwell of East New York’s Pink Houses, striking the unarmed father of two.
Meanwhile, there has been a mixed response to Thompson’s Wednesday suggestion that Liang should be sentenced to house arrest and probation for the crime.
In contrast, the New York Daily News reports that Gurley’s other relatives — including his aunt, Hertencia Petersen; mother, Sylvia Palmer; and stepfather, Kenneth Palmer — were outraged by Thompson’s comments on Wednesday.
“You’re a traitor,” Petersen reportedly said about Thompson. “We trusted you …. You hoodwinked us. How dare you sell yourself to the devil?”
Liang, who is from Bensonhurst, will be sentenced on April 14.