Dear Annie,
Steve Huang
2910

  1. ALL the protesters believe his family deserves justice, and #PeterLiang deserves punishment.Really? Because all I see in the media coverage are protestors who are holding signs that say “drop all charges,” “accident =/= crime” and people saying he’s a “scapegoat.” This hardly looks like support for Peter Liang being punished, and definitely doesn’t look like justice for Akai Gurley. If you could provide supporting evidence for the contrary, I’d love to see it.
  2. “Even THE most radical protesters have not brought up Akai Gurley’s crack dealing convictions and arrests (24 in all). Guess what? Crack Dealer is THE first fact that white protesters would have brought up, and it would be the headlines in the media. Even as protesters, Asian-Americans are too polite.” Great, let’s pat ourselves on the back for not resorting to the victim-blaming and victim-shaming that we see in the conservative white news media. I’m so proud of you — oh wait, but you just did it, so…
  3. My son is 16 now, and if it happened to #PeterLiang, it can happen to him.” Guess what? In 5 months I’ll be Akai Gurley’s age when he was shot, and sometimes I walk up dark staircases. If it happened to Akai, it could happen to me.
  4. [I have amended this #4 part to say that I am speaking about reckless behavior that results in death, in response to George Shan’s comment that I was not being very clear about what NY state law defines as manslaughter and pretty much screwed it up. Thanks George!] “If #PeterLiang can get ass-raped for an accident, so can your kids.” I am REALLY okay with my kids getting “ass-raped” if the “accident” they commit is reckless and leads to someone’s death. Under New York law, reckless accidents that result in death = “manslaughter.” (and not “murder”) The charges fit the crime, Peter Liang’s accident = manslaughter. Are you saying that the accidental death of someone at the hands of a police officer behaving recklessly — whose sworn duty is to protect — does not qualify as manslaughter? Or are you saying that manslaughter doesn’t warrant jail time (or “ass-rape,” in your words).
    (and if this is really what Peter Liang supporters are angry about, where are the calls for legislative change in criminal sentencing then?)
  5. Speaking of Shaun Landau, you failed to mention the more senior white police partner who was granted IMMUNITY. Perhaps #BlackLivesMatter as a movement considers this a necessary evil in order to achieve justice for POC except yellow.” I’m confused by this statement. A) Shaun Landau was also a rookie cop, as I understand it, and definitely not “senior.” Maybe it was a difference of some months and formal titles, but he’s also had less than 2 years on the force (hence why he just got terminated by the NYPD; he was within the 2-year probationary period) B) Are you saying that #BlackLivesMatter has been advocating for Shaun Landau to have immunity? I don’t think this has ever been a position of theirs. C) Maybe you’re trying to say that they’ve been inadequate in their criticism of Landau’s receiving immunity…maybe they have. But who are they supposed to focus on, the guy whose bullet is in Akai Gurley’s dead body, or the guy whose bullet isn’t?

Lastly, you say you want justice for both Peter Liang and Akai Gurley, that there are two victims here. But the only path to justice for BOTH Peter Liang and victims like Akai Gurley is to make sure that other other cops who commit crimes against citizens are held accountable (Landau, Pantaleo in Eric Garner case, etc.), as well as the police departments that train them.

Please open your ears. Much of the work and advocacy for police reform and police accountability has been undertaken by Black Lives Matter for years, and many Chinese-Americans are honestly arriving late to this idea, and only when one of their own gets involved. If we want to be more acknowledged as a part of America, maybe we should stop behaving like only our personal community interests matter. Justice for both Peter and Akai means that the voices calling for real police reform need to be louder. Instead, I see Chinese-Americans accusing Black Lives Matter of being a racist special interest group. We will never get anywhere if we can’t understand just how much we actually agree on the same things.