Regular readers know that TTAG abhors the term “accidental discharge.” There is no such thing. It is a negligent discharge. So when we hear NYPD Commissioner William Bratton say an officer’s gun “accidentally discharged,” we call bullshit. But that’s what Billy Boy had to say about this tragic tale [via nydailynews.com] . . .
Akai Gurley had just entered the stairwell near his steady sweetheart’s seventh floor apartment at about 11:15 p.m. when Liang fatally shot him in the chest, said the source and the girlfriend.
The two only used the stairs because the building elevator was slow . . .
Officer Peter Liang, who fired the fatal shot, “heard a noise,” a police source told the Daily News. “It was dark. He must have been nervous.” . . .
“I shot him accidentally,” Liang told colleagues afterward. His partner never fired his gun, the source said . . .
The terrified couple ran down to the fifth floor before Gurley collapsed in a pool of blood. Butler, who was standing alongside her boyfriend when he was hit, recalled their frantic final moments together as she begged Gurley to keep fighting.
“Yo, you OK? Talk to me!” she recalled shouting. “He wasn’t saying nothing. That was the last thing I said to him.”
The victim’s helpless girlfriend has said she was left to watch Akai Gurley die after the single gunshot without a word warning.
Butler said the officers never came down to check on the mortally wounded man, and medical help was only sent after she banged on a neighbor’s door for help.
So Liang accidentally had his gun in his hand, accidentally pointed it into the darkness and accidentally pulled the trigger, accidentally hitting Gurley in the chest, killing him. Because he – the rookie cop – was nervous. As they say, gun safety is no accident.
[Note: Normally, I wouldn’t criticize Officer Liang’s actions without a full accounting of the incident in question. When it comes to OID, nine times out of ten, the first story is not the real story. But the NYPD said the officers were on a “routine patrol,” the stairwell was “pitch black” (know your target and what’s beyond it) and the shooting was an “accident.”]
[h/t JE and PB]