While sharing details of the shooting, Liang began to cry and had to be excused from the courtroom reports the New York Times.
Liang was present in the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, taking the stand and sharing his side of the events that unfolded on Nov. 20 in 2014 in Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York. Liang and partner Shaun Landau were patrolling the Pink Houses projects that night and said that his fear overpowered him thus leading him to pull out his service weapon.
The officer says he entered a darkened stairwell when he was startled and fired his weapon. A bullet ricocheted off a wall, striking the 28-year-old Gurley as he walked with his girlfriend, Melissa Butler. Liang said he took out his weapon because he saw bullet holes in the roof and thought he was entering a dangerous environment.
As the Times reported, prosecutors have been arguing the past two weeks of the trial that Liang taking out his service weapon was ill-advised in a residential area.
Reports The Times:
Struggling to keep his composure, he described the moment he fired his weapon — the result of a combination of dread and confusion.
“I heard something on my left side; it was a quick sound and it just startled me, and the gun just went off after I tensed up,” he said.
Officer Liang was relatively new to the force. The dangers of the kind of patrol he was on were underscored last week when two officers, Diara E. Cruz and Patrick Espeut, were shot in a housing project in the Bronx.
As a lawyer for the defense asked Officer Liang to recall the shooting, he became overwhelmed with emotion.
Gurley’s family was inside the courtroom as Liang spoke, who at one point was unable to continue his testimony due to his emotional state. He returned to the courtroom after composing himself and faced more rounds of questions.
Liang faces a charge of manslaughter along with a charge of official misconduct after him and Officer Landau failed to administer CPR to Gurley after the shooting.
Last week, Officer Landau testified against his partner and said he had received little in the way of CPR training.
SOURCE: New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty