Asian American Orgs Condemn Support Of Officer Liang, Call For Justice For Gurley

Courtesy of CAAAV
Courtesy of CAAAV

In the wake of calls for justice for indicted NYPD Office Peter Liang, more than fifty Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) groups from across the country have released an open letter calling for justice for the man he killed.

Officer Liang, who is from Bensonhurst, was patrolling the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York on November 20, 2014 when he accidentally fired a shot into a dark stairwell and his bullet ricocheted, killing 28-year-old Akai Gurley. While the response to the indictment of Officer Liang has been divided, some Asian American activists accuse prosecutors of scapegoating the rookie cop, condemning what they see as unduly harsh treatment, and calling for multi-city protests across the nation.

The latest letter — which is signed by more than 200 prominent Asian Americans, including MacArthur “Genius” and activist Ai-jen Poo, award-winning author Jeff Chang, and blogger and Youtube personality Phil Yu — strongly condemns such calls and expresses support for Akai Gurley’s family and all families impacted by police violence:

We strongly oppose calls coming from some members of the Asian American community to drop charges against NYPD Officer Peter Liang for the death of Akai Gurley.

This demand is misguided and utterly hurtful to Akai Gurley’s family and to communities that have been subjected to discriminatory and often deadly policing practices across the country.

We stand with Akai Gurley’s family and all those who have lost loved ones to police violence.

We firmly believe that Peter Liang must be held accountable for his actions.

Organizations that signed the letter range from national organizations like Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Asian Law Caucus, the nation’s oldest legal Asian American civil rights organizations, to grassroots community organizations such as Khmer Girls in Action in Long Beach, CA and Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) in New York.

“Our organizations have released this letter to make clear that there is broad support for Akai Gurley’s family and police accountability in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, including the Chinese American community,” said Cathy Dang, executive director of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities in New York. “Efforts calling for charges against NYPD Officer Peter Liang to be dropped are divisive, hurtful, and misguided. We should all be standing with Akai’s family, who have lost a beloved brother, son, and father, and should be fighting to reform policing practices so that more families won’t have to suffer the pain they are going through.”

Fahd Ahmed, executive director of the DRUM emphasized that confronting racism in other communities benefits all minorities.

“As South Asian communities, we know that we live in a racist society, in which we often are at the receiving end of racism, and sometimes we benefit from the racism. But the only solution to ending such racism is to fight for justice for all communities, not just only when it harms our communities,” he said.

The letter concludes:

There is broad support in the Asian and Pacific Islander community for #JusticeforAkaiGurley and for the systemic overhaul of policing practices and other institutional policies that chronically defund and destabilize Black communities.

This is a flashpoint for Asian and Pacific Islander communities to come together and oppose police violence. In this moment, we stand together to show support for Akai Gurley’s family, other families who have lost loved ones to police violence, as well as the broader police accountability movement.

Read the full letter here.

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  1. These Asians are spoiled brats. Let business owners not hire those who support Akai Gurley or riots all over the country, such as in Baltimore where the National Guard was called in. Why is someone in this country not allowed to say that as a P.O. or as a small business owner I am scarred to serve the next person, who looks like a Michael Brown. In the recent Bensonhurst small business owners’ harassment case, the kids look Russian. Moreover, if there is a prevalence of these types of crimes committed by Russians youths, then I would be the first to say that small business owners should be allowed to ethnically profile the Russian youths. On the other hand, constantly supporting the Black race by all ethnicities and races in this country is getting ridiculous. The Asians and the Caucasians are at full employment and their crime rate is well below their percentage share of the US population. The Latinos are not that far behind, and if they had a lobby as aggressive as the Blacks have, their crime numbers would drop dramatically. That said, except for NYC and Los Angeles, the Latinos have a crime rate below their respective share of the overall US population. The Latinos are marginalized in these two cities, by being lumped in with the Blacks. The Blacks, they have a crime rate that is four times their percentage share of the entire US population. It has been fifty years since the civil rights movement and everyone is doing better than the Blacks, all ethnicities and races. Oh and lets not forget to seperate the Black men from their women. The Black women’s crime rate is on par with the caucasian male crime rate. They have evolved in their own right since the civil rights movement. It is the Black women and their children, who are especially vulnerable at the hands of Black Men. Yet NYC rewards Black men with awesome government jobs without even fingerprinting them. I wonder how many MTA employees have domestic violence or DWI charges, which had been leveled against them at some point in time in their lives? Shame on you NYC. As our Caucasian population contracts, we should seriously consider contracting the Black population as well, hopefully to American Indian like numbers. Black men represent just over 6% of the US population, and the village should not be at their disposal, even to raise someone like an Obama or a Powell. And who know maybe those two beat their wives as well and they just stay silent. The liberals care about the Black family, at the expense of Black women and their abused children, at the hands of the vilest criminals in America. Black men are predisposed to be criminals, just like gays are born gay. It should not be racist or sexist or racist for Black women and all the races and ethnicities to tell the Black men so.

  2. For the 2009 accidental shooting death of a Black by a White officer when patrolling a housing project, why would a mostly Black grand jury clear the office from any wrong doing? And now the same Blacks would want to send Liang to jail for 15 years? Blacks discriminate Asians. They think Whites lives matter, not Asians. In another supposedly accidental shooting of a Black man Harris by a White volunteer deputy, I read through all the comments on Huffington Post expecting I would see some black folks screaming “murder!” “modern day lynching!” like they did in Asian officer Liang’s case. But surprisingly I didn’t see any. Maybe that police shooting victim is less innocent than Gurley since he was involved in a violent altercation with the cops? But that cop was also less innocent than Liang, since Liang did not even shoot Gurley, but the wall. And he and his partner did not realize someone had got
    shot as a result of Liang’s accidental discharge. Maybe the Black folks think the White lives are more of value than that of Asians? Is that the same reason that they tend to target Asians for violence? If the Black folks practice racism themselves, what grounds do they have to ask the Whites not to discriminate them?

  3. Some Black folks and their Asian supporters are arguing a very dangerous logic, that “the fact that some get away with rule breaking doesn’t invalidate punishing those who are caught.” This is a trap for the Blacks. Imagine these scenarios – first, the Blacks complaining being stopped for no reason, but the Whites never get stopped, the cops say, the Whites get away with law breaking doesn’t invalidate us punishing those who get caught. when the Blacks complaining their being singled out for police shooting, the cops say, all law breakers resisting the police should be shot dead, the fact that those White criminals get away from it doesn’t mean the Black criminals should also get away from being shot dead.

  4. In some states, trespassers are shot by homeowners. In a similar fashion, perps should be shot by cops if they are caught breaking the law. If the cops were allowed to use more force then maybe the perps would respect the laws and not shoot people. No one has mentioned that shootings are up in the city and 80% of the suspects are Black. Where is the moral outrage here? As an employer, I would not dream of hiring anyone from the 75th, the 70th, the 67th and the 61st precincts. I mention the 61st because it has a tremendously high crime rate, when compared to precincts in both Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge or Staten Island.

  5. I’m seeing you in a lot of places and you are pissing me off. This officer will be held accountable for taking someones one life, no one cares that he is Asian, he killed a man and he will be held responsible for it. Dont care if it was an accident, a man lost his one life, and someone needs to be held responsible for taking it. You should be ashamed of yourself, but I doubt you are. If someone killed someone who you cared about you would want them to be held accountable, but since its no one who you give a shit about you dont give a fuck that a man lost his life. Disgusting.

  6. If there is a car accident and someone get killed, should the driver of the car go to jail? xo, an accident is an accident, plain and simple.

  7. We can’t call it an accident without considering Negligence. If Law Enforcement knew (and there is no way they couldn’t have known) of the poor lighting conditions of the complex, which would inevitably not only compromise their ability to do their job, but in fact put their own lives & those of the residents in the complex, at risk, then why couldn’t they have Notify their Union (Pat Lynch is Always in the Lime Light in Defense of Every Police Officer’s Action). How can this simply be reduced to a “Tragic Accident?” I am sure, there would be no question, were it a member of our own family. A young man, 28 years old, paid the price of that Negligence, with his life.

  8. “We can’t call it an accident,” really? First of all, the rookie officer, as part of his job, is sent to a poorly condition building (building that is most likely a place where suspected criminal and drug dealing activities happens) and when the two officer notice the door open from the building, Officer Liang shot the wall and the bullet ricochet and killed Mr. Gurley. Yeah, not an accident of course:/ (plain sarcasm by the way) ….. “Poor lighting conditions of the complex,” nothing could be done about it, the officers did know that they were going to face danger and being sent to a place like that (police officer’s job to keep law and order, even in harsh area) can scare two rookies, especially without someone with veteran experience to accompany them. Now, think about it (going to use racial tongue now) – over the past, when a white officer kills a black man/women, they either get suspended and not get sent to jail for what they done. How, come now they are trying to proclaim guilty on Peter Liang and sent him, a Asian rookie, to jail for this “Accident,” when enough evidence are there to prove it is in fact not a “murder?” Of course he killed Mr. Gurley and there is no word of doubt but, this is unjust for if you look at the fact of what happened and the past when similar “accidents” occurs: the result isn’t like what is happening now. Many protesters say that this is a “scapegoat” and is primarily true seeing how in the past, white officers that done something bad got away and now, the justice system pins a solution to the controversy between the police and the people on a person like Peter Liang, an asian. “Condolences to Mr. Gurley’s Family” is expressed by the protesters for “Justice FOR PETER LIANG.” The message is they(the protesters wanting justice for Mr. Liang) want for their people to be just as treated fairly, just like others, starting with the justice system. Also, if you still use the argument that an accident is nothing and his race is nothing to the court system, well Liang is being charged with “manslaughter” and hes the first officer to be immediately counted guilty by the system(note that I am not talking about cases where police officers did on purpose fire at a person-like after confronting the person) ever since multiple “accidents” and “killings” that had follow before the tragedy that happen to Mr. Gurley and Peter Liang. Anyway, I can’t say all that is needed to be say, but there will be more thing being put out there by others. Go check it out.

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