On November 20, 2014, NYPD Officer Peter Liang fatally shot 28-year-old Akai Gurley in a darkened stairwell of the Pink Houses in East New York. The incident reportedly occurred when Gurley opened a door into the stairwell and startled the officer, who  fired his weapon  and hit Gurley in the chest.

Gurley’s girlfriend, Kimberly Ballinger, attempted to provide First Aid, and when Liang and his partner discovered the couple, someone had already called 911. Gurley was later pronounced dead at the hospital. On February 11, a grand jury indicted Liang, who has been charged with manslaughter and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Ballinger has now filed a $50 million  wrongful death claim  against the city, working with attorney Scott Rynecki, firm partner at Rubenstein & Rynecki. Mr. Rynecki stated, “There was no justification for this police officer having his gun out of the holster, in his hand, and his finger on or near the trigger, so this shooting recklessly occurred. “

Ballinger has a two-year-old daughter with Gurley, and is seeking compensation for loss of financial support, emotional pain and suffering, and other damages. In addition, she has filed a separate lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority for the negligence it displayed in failing to repair the broken lighting in the stairwell where the shooting occurred.

Prosecutors move ahead with criminal charges

This case has gotten a lot of media attention, especially considering that many events like it have occurred across the country over the past year. This has included the choking death of Eric Garner in New York and other shootings of unarmed black men throughout the country by police officers. After Gurley’s death, protests started up across the city.

If you or someone you know has been a  victim of police brutality, you should speak with an experienced attorney at Rubenstein & Rynecki right away. Call our New York City firm at (718) 522-1020 or  contact us online.