Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Honorary Whiteness? NYPD Cop Peter Liang to do no Prison Time for the Killing of Akai Gurley

I wish that I could tell you that I am surprised by the following outcome.

From the New York Post:
The former rookie cop convicted in the 2014 shooting death of an unarmed man in a housing-project stairwell dodged prison Tuesday — as his victim’s angry kin warned that “justice will be served one way or another.” 
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun largely followed the no-jail recommendation of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson in sentencing ex-Officer Peter Liang to five years probation and 800 hours of community service for the death of Akai Gurley. 
Chun also downgraded the jury’s finding on manslaughter to criminally negligent homicide. 
There is “no evidence, either direct or circumstantial, that the defendant was aware of Akai Gurley’s presence and therefore disregarded any risk [to him],’’ Chun explained.
I wish that black and brown people who are tried in America's courts were treated with the compassion and understanding that was shown Peter Liang by the judge and prosecutor:
The judge said he agreed with Thompson’s no-jail recommendation because “as I watched the video of the defendant entering the lobby of the Pink Houses, I couldn’t help but feel he was entering with the serious mind of protecting the people. 
“Shooting somebody never entered his mind,’’ Chun said. “I find incarceration to be unnecessary.”
I wish that more families of the black folks who are killed by American's out of control cops would publicly channel the very human emotions of revenge and anger towards the thugs in blue:
Gurley’s aunt, Hertencia Petersen, raged after court, “So you’re telling me it’s OK for a black man in America, good ol’ America, to get murdered, and these officers who took an oath to serve and protect are not being held accountable? 
“But don’t worry, what goes around, comes around,’’ she said. “Sooner or later, Peter Liang, if not him in his lifetime, someone in his family, is going to feel our pain.”
The color line is never simple where matters of "law and order" are involved. We know that black life is cheap in America. We also know that in the United States (and elsewhere) Asians and other non-white groups have historically had to triangulate themselves relative to the black-white binary.

A question, is Peter Liang's relative lack of punishment for killing Akai Gurley one more creeping step towards honorary whiteness for Asian-Americans? Or is the fact that Liang, a Chinese-American, was even prosecuted for killing a black man (when white cops rarely are), a reminder of how East Asians are still a relatively marginalized racial group in the United States?

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