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NYC cop due to be charged for stairwell shooting of unarmed man

NEW YORK - A New York City prosecutor is due to announce criminal charges on Wednesday against a rookie police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man while patrolling the darkened stairwell of a housing project last November.

shooting
A NYC rookie police officer was indicted by a grand jury for the shooting of an unarmed man while patrolling the darkened stairwell of a housing project.

NEW YORK - A New York City prosecutor is due to announce criminal charges on Wednesday against a rookie police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man while patrolling the darkened stairwell of a housing project last November.

Officer Peter Liang was patrolling with his partner in the Brooklyn housing project about 11:15 p.m. on Nov. 20 when his gun fired a single bullet, killing Akai Gurley, 28, who was in the stairwell a flight below with his girlfriend. Whether Liang's gun went off by mistake or was fired deliberately is likely the most disputed aspect of the shooting.

Liang turned himself in on Wednesday morning at a Brooklyn police station, where a crowd of news photographers and television crews jostled for pictures of his arrival.

Several city news outlets reported that a grand jury had voted to indict Liang on Tuesday on charges that include manslaughter and negligent homicide.

Kenneth Thompson, the district attorney who oversaw the secret grand jury proceedings, is due to discuss the charges after Liang's arraignment on Wednesday afternoon.

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A spokeswoman for Thompson told reporters they expect Liang to be granted bail and released on his own recognizance.

Liang's court appearance comes two months after another grand jury in the borough of Staten Island voted against indicting one of the police officers who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man being arrested for peddling loose cigarettes, by putting Garner in a chokehold.

The lack of an indictment sparked a new round of large rallies in the city by protesters who say police are too quick to use violence against black citizens.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has angered much of his police department by his expressions of support for some of the protests, has said Gurley's death was an "unspeakable" tragedy.

Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICE
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