Council Member Chin Calls For Leniency in Sentencing of Convicted Cop

City Council member Margaret Chin; file photo.
City Council member Margaret Chin; file photo.
City Council member Margaret Chin; file photo.

Mass protests are planned in New York and in communities across the country tomorrow following the conviction of former police officer Peter Liang. He was found guilty earlier this month in the fatal shooting of a man in a public housing stairwell in Brooklyn. Many Chinese Americans have denounced the verdict as unjust. Now City Council member Margaret Chin is out with a statement regarding Liang:

…I have asked my Council colleagues to join me to ask for leniency in the case involving Peter Liang. As a mother, my heart goes out to Peter Liang and his family, who are facing the possibility of Peter going to prison for up to 15 years. There are two main factors that I am asking Judge Chun to consider when he gives out his sentence. First, I believe that the NYPD’s policy and training utterly failed Akai Gurley, as well as Peter Liang and his partner, on the tragic night of Nov. 20, 2014. Two rookie police officers should never have been placed on a vertical patrol in an unfamiliar, darkened stairwell. Second, and just as important, is the culture of neglect that darkened that stairwell, and many others just like it in public housing projects across our City. Lack of funding and decades of indifference have turned hundreds of stairwells, elevators, and courtyards into danger zones that inspire fear – and often, terror – in both officers and the residents they are sworn to protect. What happened on Nov. 20 was a tragedy for both families. I ask that Judge Chun give the many factors that made that tragedy happen due consideration in the sentencing of Peter Liang.

Last year, Chin called for the indictment of Liang, saying it would be an important step toward reforming the police department. She told the New York Times, “Let the judicial system take its course… We can reform the whole system so everyone can get equal treatment.” Her stance has, of course, been controversial in Chinatown and could become a political liability in the next election cycle.