3 April 2015

API People’s Solidarity Statement on the Indictment of NYPD Officer Peter Liang

CONTACT: Meejin Richart, mrichart@caaav.org or Bernadette Ellorin, chair@bayanusa.org 

April 3, 2015 - We, API People’s Solidarity (APIPS) first and foremost extend our love and solidarity to the family and loved ones of Akai Gurley whose life was stolen by the NYPD via Officer Peter Liang last December. APIPS commends the Brooklyn DA on the indictment of Officer Liang and supports the family of Akai Gurley in their pursuit of justice. 

Our coalition stands in opposition to communities in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Philadelphia, Boston and New York City who have announced plans to hold rallies in support of Peter Liang. The reasoning has been that Liang is a scapegoat because he is Asian, and they reference that officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, responsible for the murders of Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island, respectively, were not indicted. We as members of pan-Asian community understand the sentiments of wanting to take care of our own and to object when the criminal injustice system gets its death grip on a community member who is someone’s grandson, brother and son. In the case of Peter Liang, we know with certainty that to support his indictment is to stand on the side of justice. Officer Liang must be held accountable for his use of deadly force that led to the ending of Akai Gurley’s life. 

Justice for Akai Gurley and for all people who have been killed, beaten and had their rights violated by police around the country without an indictment, much less a conviction for their actions. We look to the case of Yong Xin Huang, a 16-year old who was killed 20 years ago this month in March 1995 by NYPD officer Steve Mizrahi in Bushwick. There was large community outcry when Huang was killed, and for good reason. Protesters, led by Huang’s family, called for an indictment of Mizrahi, and for good reason. In the case of Peter Liang, the Asian person is on the other side, and we as a community need to stand with the grieving family of Akai Gurley to demand justice for Akai and for all who have had their lives stolen by police.

We see the indictment of Officer Liang as the first necessary step toward holding the NYPD accountable to the communities it claims to protect and serve. 

We also know that the militarized policies and practices of policing in New York City have strong connections to impunity in our home countries in the Asia Pacific region and around the world. We continue to fight for justice for the murder of Jennifer Laude by U.S. Marine Joseph Pemberton in the Philippines. It is our duty as members of pan-Asian diasporic communities to ensure an end to impunity for all officers who kill civilians. We will continue to organize and speak out until all police officers and military personnel are held accountable for brutalizing and killing Black, Latino, Trans*, im/migrant, homeless, indigenous, Muslim and perceived to be Muslim community members.

APIPS joins the family of Akai Gurley and community in their call for Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the entire NY Justice Department to (re)examine the 179 NYPD-related killings from the past 15 years, of which only 3 have led to an indictment. We will continue to struggle against racist police killings targeting Black and Brown communities in the U.S., and we refuse for our communities to be used as a wedge in order to weaken the larger movement to end police murder, which is linked to the U.S. imperialist aggressions in the Asia-Pacific and around the world.

Bayan USA National Alliance
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Civilian-Soldier Alliance
Eclipse Rising
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Island X
Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
Sloths Against Nuclear State – SANS