Chinese community to protest against Peter Liang's verdict

Updated: 2016-02-18 12:08

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

As in some 40 other cities, the mostly ethnic-Chinese community will gather in front of the Washington Monument on the morning of Feb 20 in a rally to support New York City police officer Peter Liang, whose manslaughter conviction was seen by many as unfair.

Chinese community to protest against Peter Liang's verdict

Members of the Greater Washington for Peter Liang Coordination Group observes a moment of silence for Akai Gurley on Wednesday afternoon in a press conference to announce a Saturday morning rally in front of the Washington Monument. Gurley was killed in 2014 when NYPD officer Liang discharged his weapon in a stairwell. CHEN WEIHUA / CHINA DAILY

Liang, a 28-year-old rookie NYPD officer, was found guilty on Feb 11 by a Brooklyn jury of second-degree manslaughter and official misconduct in the 2014 shooting of Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, in a Brooking housing project.

The manslaughter charge carries up to 15 years in jail. A sentencing will be announced on April 14. Liang plans to appeal the verdict.

The conviction last week caused a great stir in the Chinese community across the US.

Shuigen Xiao, head of the Greater Washington for Peter Liang Coordination Group, a new voluntary organization, described both Gurley and Liang as victims.

Xiao said he hoped the rallies in Washington and other US cities on Feb 20 would warrant a fairer treatment for Liang. "We hope public concern about the case will help ensure a just legal proceeding," he told a news conference on Wednesday in Fairfax, Virginia.

Xiao believes public donations will also help Liang in the subsequent legal processes.

Part of the money collected will be handed over to Gurley's family. The rally will also observe a moment of silence to express condolences for the young man.

Organizers of the Washington rally said they plan to reach out to the African-American community and other communities to join the rally.

Alex Zhong, a member of the coordination group, believes the rallies will have a profound significance for the Asian-American community in terms of equal treatment.

Wenming Kuai, also a member of the coordination group, said the NYPD and the city's Housing Committee should also be held responsible for the accident.

"It's unfair to let Liang take all the blame," Kuai said.

The stairwell of the Brooklyn housing project where the shooting took place was dark and a scene of previous crimes.

Vincent Wong, a member of the coordination group, expressed that some in the African-American community support the rally. Wong went to a local store to print rally posters, and a black woman staff member saw the posters and printed extra copies for him free of charge.

Organizers are not sure how many people will turn out for the rally. But they estimated it could be several thousand, perhaps as many as 10,000, on a sunny morning when the temperature is expected to be in the 60s.