Rookie police officer Peter Liang, who says he fired his gun accidentally, killed Gurley inside a darkened stairwell of the Louis Pink Housing project in Brooklyn on Nov. 20. Liang faces charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault and official misconduct.
Gurley and his girlfriend, 27-year-old Melissa Butler, left her apartment on the night of Nov. 20. They took the stairwell because the elevator was out of service. When the couple entered the stairwell, Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau, were conducting a “vertical patrol” in which police officers roam the stairways of public housing buildings in an effort to prevent crime in the area. Liang was carrying his gun in his hand and shot Gurley in the chest. Gurley was unarmed.
Protesters in New York have called for Liang’s indictment for months with lingering hope in the grand jury decisions declining indictments for Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and Eric Garner’s video-recorded chokehold death in Staten Island.
In the U.S. today where justice does not feel served, today's grand jury decision marks a turning point.