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CAAAV Statement to Asian and Asian American Communities on the Murder of Akai Gurley by NYPD Officer Peter Liang

Fri, 02/13/2015
Cathy Dang

On November 20th, NYPD rookie Officer Peter Liang shot and killed Akai Gurley, an unarmed, Black, 28-year old father, while conducting a vertical patrol in the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York.

We put out this statement to be clear: that the murder of Akai Gurley is a part of the systemic targeting of Black people by the police, and that Officer Liang must be indicted. As a police officer, he is a part of the institutional injustice we see everyday with law enforcement. We demand an indictment of Officer Liang, just as we have with Darren Wilson and Dan Pantaleo.

To be clear, the problem is not just individual police officers; the problem is systemic. The NYPD’s vertical patrols of public housing have led to unwarranted harassment of the residents and guests of those buildings, as part of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. When the police abuse their power, kill, and aren’t held accountable for their actions, officers are affirmed that they can kill with impunity. When, as a society, we are taught to equate “Black” with “criminal” and there is no overhaul of the so-called criminal justice system, then police officers and other armed vigilantes will continue to kill unarmed Black people every 28 hours.

Without a complete and thorough overhaul of these systems, we will have more Akai Gurleys and more Officer Liangs, more Darren Wilsons and Mike Browns, more Rekia Boyds and Dante Servins.

CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities has been part of the anti-police brutality movement for decades because of our core belief that Asian and Asian American communities cannot be complacent with the current inherently flawed criminal justice system. We understand that the political and economic foundation of this country is rooted in anti-Blackness and that the criminal justice system is an extension of this foundation. Asian and Asian American communities who are often positioned as proof that racial uplift is possible despite this foundation, have more to gain from seeking justice than maintaining the status quo.

CAAAV puts out this statement with honesty and intention to highlight why we are calling for structural overhaul and police accountability, and to ensure there is no confusion in our communities on where we need to stand on the killing of Akai Gurley and others. The fact that Officer Liang is an Asian American shouldn’t mean that Asian Americans don’t call for justice for Akai Gurley. Quite the opposite — it should force us to examine how each of us is complicit in maintaining the status quo.

CAAAV, along with the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken the streets, are demanding an overhaul of this system. #BlackLivesMatter and we will not stand for the loss of Black life, dignity, and opportunity at the hands of the state. We hope you will join us to demand justice for Akai Gurley.

#ThisStopsToday #BlackLivesMatter #ShutItDown