New York City will pay over $4 million to the family of Akai Gurley, the unarmed black man fatally shot in 2014 by then city police officer Peter Liang, according to reports Monday. Gurley’s family had filed a wrongful death claim over his killing in a Brooklyn public housing project by the officer on patrol.
While the city will pay $4.1 million in settlement, the New York City Housing Authority and Liang will pay an additional $400,000 and $25,000 respectively, Scott Rynecki, the lawyer for Gurley’s partner Kimberly Ballinger and their daughter Akaila Gurley, said, according to the New York Times.
The city finalized the settlement Monday afternoon. According to New York Daily News, the total amount will be put into a fund for 4-year-old Akaila. The money will not be used without court approval until she turns 18. The report added that the money will be invested in annuities, estimated to be $10 million, throughout her life.
However, Rynecki reportedly said Ballinger may appeal to the court for a small portion of the money, likely in the form of a monthly income.
“I’m glad it’s all done. I’m pleased with the outcome,” Ballinger told the Daily News.
In November 2014, Liang, then a rookie New York Police Department officer, fired a bullet that ricocheted and struck Gurley in the stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn. In February 2015, Liang — a Chinese-American — was found guilty of manslaughter and other criminal charges, following which he was fired from his job.
However, in April 2015, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun reduced Liang’s charge to criminally negligent homicide and sentenced him to five years of probation and 800 hours of community service. After the sentencing, Liang said the shot was accidental.
Gurley’s shooting triggered protests from the black community. But the case also reportedly bothered several Asian-Americans who felt Liang was made the fall guy during a nationwide debate over policing of black communities.