By Shirley Lew
AsAmNews New York Correspondent
A big supporter of Peter Liang is refusing to declare victory, despite a judge’s decision to sentence the defendant to probation and community service, but no house arrest or jail time, for the death of Akai Gurley. Even with the the reduced charge from second degree manslaughter to criminal negligent homicide, both families have suffered, said community activist Karlin Chan.
Chan has been by the side the ex-cop since March of 2015, just months after Liang’s gun went off in a dark stair case and killed Gurley in November 2014.
Chan, director of the Chinese Free Masons helped secure Robert Brown and Rae Koshetz as Liang’s attorneys last year, subsequently replacing the pro-bono lawyers provided by the PBA.
After the sentencing, Chan expressed his faith in Brown and Koshetz all along.
“The judge’s ruling should quiet those that were critical of the defense team of Robert Brown and Rae Koshetz who did a wonderful job. People have been all over social media, saying they “fu*ked up,” but Judge Chun’s decision to reduce the conviction from manslaughter to criminally negligent homicide was based on court transcript of testimony and arguments made by Brown and Koshetz during the trial ”
“I am compelled to modify and reduce the sentence to criminal negligent homicide,” said Judge Danny Chun during the sentencing. The people needed to prove that substantial and unreasonable risk would occur. There is no evidence that the defendant was aware of Gurley’s presence. Shooting that gun and killing somebody was the last thing on his mind, the judge announced in court yesterday.
Brown and Koshetz were then joined with Paul Schectman and Gabriel Chin, a decision Liang made on his own last month. The two legal teams were seen together at Liang’s sentencing and during the two days of hearings on Michael Vargas, the juror that allegedly lied to get onto Liang’s trial. The hearings did not convince Chun that Vargas was lying and denied Schectman’s motion for a mistrial as result.
Hear Karlin Chan’s reaction to Liang’s reduced charge and sentence.
On Liang’s apology in court, “It meant nothing,” said Kimberly Ballinger, the mother of Akai Gurley’s three year old daughter during a television interview with WPIX-TV. Ballinger’s attorney, Scott Rynecki, said depositions of the NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio will begin next month in a civil case. Brooklyn District Attorney, Ken Thompson will also appeal the judge’s ruling.
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