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Family of Akai Gurley Wins Millions in Settlement with NYC

Akai Gurley
Akai Gurley

The family of a man who was shot to death in a Brooklyn, N.Y., housing project stairwell by an NYPD officer two years ago will collect millions from New York City, a judge has ruled.

The city is paying $4.1 million and the New York City Housing Authority is contributing $400,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of 28-year-old Akai Gurley.

“I’m glad it’s all done. I’m pleased with the outcome,” Ballinger, 26, told the New York Daily News. The money will be placed in a fund for Gurley’s daughter, Akaila, which cannot be touched without a court order until she is 18.

The city’s Law Department called the settlement a “fair resolution of a tragic matter.”

Former Officer Peter Liang was on patrol in November 2014 when he opened a stairwell door at a public housing building and suddenly fired. The bullet ricocheted and hit Gurley. Liang will pay $25,000 to Kim Ballinger, the mother of Gurley’s daughter as part of the settlement.

Liang was sentenced to five years’ probation and 800 hours of community service; he later apologized to Gurley’s family.

Family attorney Scott Rynecki said the parties reached the settlement “after extensive negotiations guided by Supreme Court Justice Dawn Jimenez-Salta.”

The case became a flashpoint for police accountability. The shooting came just months after the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York prompted protests and a nationwide discussion of police killings.

Read more at JETMag.com.


— With Associated Press

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