posted at 19:50
Author: The Associated Press
Hundreds protest police shooting of Akai Gurley
NEW YORK - Stunned relatives of an unarmed man killed by a rookie police officer in a dark public housing stairwell looked on as the Rev. Al Sharpton and public officials demanded a full investigation Saturday into what law enforcement officials have termed an apparent accident. Police said the fatal shooting Thursday night of Akai Gurley in Brooklyn's gritty East New York neighborhood appears accidental. Gurley's death comes at a sensitive time, with a grand jury weighing whether to bring criminal charges against another officer in the chokehold death of a man on Staten Island, and the nation bracing for a potential announcement soon on whether an indictment will be handed up in the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. City police often conduct "Vertical patrols" inside public housing by going from roofs down staircases that sometimes are havens for crime. Police Commissioner William Bratton has said the patrols are needed, and the development where Gurley was shot had recently seen a shooting, robberies and assaults. Police said the officers walked down the stairs onto an eighth-floor landing when Gurley and his girlfriend opened a stairwell door one floor down, after giving up on waiting for an elevator. Police said Liang, patrolling with his gun drawn, fired without a word and apparently by accident, hitting Gurley from a distance of about 10 feet. New York Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron organized a protest march of about 200 people on Saturday evening from the shooting scene to the police department office that patrols housing developments.

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