A rookie cop who shot and killed an unarmed man in a New York stairwell last month was busy contacting his union representative, not medical professionals, after the fateful encounter.
According to police sources speaking with the Daily News, officer Peter Liang, who shot 28-year-old Akai Gurley once in the chest after being startled in a dark housing development stairwell, spent six and a half minutes texting his union rep while Gurley bled out on the floor.
“That’s showing negligence,” a law enforcement source said. “The guy is dying and you still haven’t called it in?”
An emergency 911 operator, responding to calls about the shooting from neighbors in the area, was unable to reach officer Liang or his partner as the pair seemingly ignored radio calls.
Eventually, Liang and his partner responded to calls from the police dispatch to report an accidental discharge, claiming they were initially unaware that Liang had been hit.
Sources also revealed that the officers had already been told not to carry out stairwell patrols, known as “verticals,” by Deputy Inspector Miguel Iglesias, the housing command’s head officer.
“They’ve done verticals before,” a source said of the officers. “But Iglesias’ philosophy was, ‘I want a presence on the street, in the courtyards — and if they go into the buildings they were just supposed to check out the lobby.'”
Iglesias was said to be furious upon hearing the news.
“I told them not to do verticals.” Iglesias reportedly yelled.
Kenneth Montgomery, a lawyer representing Gurley’s parents, argued that the situation represented a clear perversion of the law.
“I would be surprised if it is not at least presented to a grand jury,” Montgomery said. “It’s a debacle and it speaks of criminal negligence.”
The NYPD has declined to comment on the incident thus far.
The revelation comes only days after a New York grand jury chose not to indict the officer who choked 43-year-old Eric Garner to death.
Given current tensions between the public and law enforcement, a decision not to punish Liang could result in further unrest across the country. Interestingly, Gurley’s mother has barred Al Sharpton from her son’s funeral, stating that his only interest lies in “money and political gain.”