posted at 20:50
Author: The Associated Press
Family of unarmed black man shot in NYC stairwell mourn his death
NEW YORK - Elected officials told mourners the world was watching Friday as they remembered an unarmed man shot dead by a rookie police officer in a darkened public housing stairwell. At a wake that came hours after the Brooklyn district attorney announced plans to take the case to a grand jury, Akai Gurley was mourned by relatives as a loyal father and son. Officer Peter Liang was patrolling a pitch-dark stairwell by flashlight, his gun drawn, when the 28-year-old Gurley and his girlfriend opened a door into the stairway Nov. 20, police said. Liang fired without a word and apparently by accident, police said. Police Commissioner William Bratton has said Gurley was "Totally innocent." The wake came two days after a grand jury on Staten Island decided criminal charges weren't warranted against a different police officer in the chokehold death of another unarmed man, Eric Garner. Last week, a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The Rev. Al Sharpton initially planned to speak at Gurley's service Friday but later said he wouldn't attend because of differences among Gurley's relatives.

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