By Shirley Lew
AsAmNews New York Correspondent
Brooklyn was the site of one of the 40 cities nationwide that gathered on the same day to support ex-NYPD officer Peter Liang.
In the morning, free shuttle buses rolled out of Manhattan’s Chinatown and other boroughs delivering hundreds to the rally, while many others marched over the Brooklyn Bridge.
At Cadman Plaza thousands stood together to rally just blocks from the courthouse where the jury found Liang guilty of second degree manslaughter. Liang’s mother and her son’s attorney, Robert Brown attended.
The bus I was on filled up quickly and would return for the next group. May Chow, the general manager of Victoria Tours provided the free shuttle bus to the Chinese Action Network as a show of support.
The Asian community and more filled the park with an impressive turnout of about 50,000, as I was told by a police officer. Other estimates were closer to the 10,000-15,000 range.
Congresswoman, Grace Meng of Queens said at the rally, But one thing is clear in the tragic case: the system failed. It failed Peter Liang and it failed Akai Gurley. The elevator in the Pink Houses should not have been broken. The lights should have not been out in the stairway. Two rookie cops should not have been patrolling by themselves in New York City. Public housing residents should not have to deal with crime that makes these regular police patrols necessary. These systematic failures make me so angry and must be addressed. Another tragedy like his must not be allowed to occur ever again.”
Many signs supporting Liang were seen along with American flags. Speakers spoke passionately that the power of the people relied on them to register to vote.
The Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) in New York has been vocal in supporting Liang’s indictment from the beginning. Just days ago, they release a statement that they have been receiving death threats.
In San Francisco,”William” carried a bull horn, leading chants at the Justice for Peter Liang march also on Saturday, Feb 20. About 200-300 people attended the march and rallied through downtown San Francisco and to Union Square.
“We are thinking its a little bit long, William said about the possible 15 year sentence for Liang. “We just want justice on this. We are feeling sorry for the victim as well. We also parading for them as well.”
About the conviction, William said, “We cannot do anything about it, I’m sorry to say. We just want to prevent something bad from happening (referring to the possible 15 year sentence).
The rally in Boston drew about 1,000 people
Brooklyn District Attorney, Ken Thompson has been accused of using Liang as a scapegoat in a bid to be re-elected.
Co-Founder, Executive Director of the Chinese Action Network, Karlin Chan told me, “The persecution of Peter Liang with dirty tactics and theatrics by an overzealous Thompson has enraged not only the Chinese community, but supporters of law enforcement also. The closing argument by Assistant District Attorney, Joseph Alexis went well beyond the evidence and testimony presented during the trial when he accused Liang of deliberately aiming and shooting Mr. Gurley and then trying to cover it up. If this indeed was an intentional shooting, why just the one shot into a pitch black staircase? Why not a barrage? During the last election when Thompson defeated then incumbent Charles Hynes, the PBA endorsed him. We will see how this trial has affected their stand when it comes to the 2017 re-election or other public office he may seek. Many outside the Chinese community share the same sentiment that Liang was offered up as a sacrificial lamb to calm the waves of public demonstrations and anti-police sentiment sweeping across NYC and the country. Though the Chinese/Asian vote alone may not be able to defeat him, we must add in other ethnicities sharing this view. We will see. “
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