As New York attempts to recover following the grand jury’s failure to indict the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner, residents are also speaking out about the death of Akai Gurley. The unarmed man was fatally wounded in the chest last month by officer Peter Liang, who fired his gun into a dark stairwell in the Lous Pink Houses in Brooklyn.
28-year-old Gurley was walking down the steps with his girlfriend when Liang says that his gun accidentally went off. For the first time since her son’s passing, Gurley’s mother, Sylvia Palmer is speaking out.
“There’s nothing in this world that can heal my pain and my heartache,” a heartbroken Palmer told the New York Daily News during a press conference held at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn on Friday before her son’s wake. “I need justice for my son because my son didn’t deserve to die like that.”
“I feel like I’m lying in the morgue with him right now,” she continued. “It’s not right.”
“My son was my heart and now he’s been taken away from me.”
Disturbingly, it has been reported that while Gurley lay dying in the stairwell, Liang texted his union rep to inform him of what had happened. It was actually a neighbor who called 911 to request the assistance of emergency responders.
“He loved life more than life itself and, most importantly, he loved his mother,” Palmer went on. “The night my son was murdered, he went out to get his hair braided to come home and surprise me for Thanksgiving. Now, there will never be another Thanksgiving, another Christmas, another Valentine’s, birthday, social gatherings.”
“We believe the officers should be charged with a homicide,” local organizer Kevin Powell added. “We don’t believe it was an accident…This feels like a series of modern day lynchings.”
Evidence regarding the shooting is scheduled to be presented before a grand jury by Brooklyn prosecutor Kenneth Thompson later this month.