NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD officer charged with killing an unarmed man in a Brooklyn stairwell last year faced a judge Thursday.
Officer Peter Liang, a 27-year-old rookie cop, was indicted in February for manslaughter and a number of other charges in connection with the Nov. 20 shooting. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In court Thursday, the defense filed a motion requesting the indictment be dismissed, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported.
Liang walked into the Kings County courtroom expressionless with his attorney. Outside, dozens of protesters demanded justice for Akai Gurley, the man Liang is accused of killing.
Neither side would discuss the case outside court.
“It’s a serious indictment,” said Scott Rynecki, the Gurley family’s attorney. “It’s a serious matter. A young man was killed and lost his life. We don’t want to jeopardize this matter.”
Investigators say Liang and his partner were going into a stairwell from the eighth floor of the Pink Houses public housing complex in East New York while Gurley, 28, and a friend were going down the stairs from the seventh floor.
Police sources told CBS2 that Liang was trying to open a door while holding a gun, and the gun went off accidentally, hitting Gurley in the torso.
Kimberly Ballinger, Gurley’s domestic partner, showed her support for him outside the courthouse Thursday, talking about the toll his death has taken on the family, especially their child.
“It’s hard having to deal with this,” she said. “My daughter asks every day when she can see Daddy.
“She’s going to be 3 in June, and her dad’s not going to be there.”
Liang’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 23.
The NYPD placed the officer on modified desk duty after the shooting and stripped him of his gun.