(From China Daily)
Rallies in support of a recently convicted New York police officer have been organized for Feb. 20 across the United States.
The conviction of Peter Liang, a rookie NYPD officer, has created a stir in the Chinese community. Liang was found guilty by a Brooklyn jury on Feb 11 of second-degree manslaughter and official misconduct in the 2014 shooting of Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, in a Brooklyn housing project.
Sentencing has been scheduled for April 14. The manslaughter charge carries up to 15 years in prison.
Since the trial began, a “guideline of helping Officer Liang” has been circulating via WeChat, a popular social networking app among Chinese. The guideline, posted on helpliang.com, calls on the Chinese community to donate funds, participate in rallies and write to the judge before the sentencing.
“Rally in street for 10 minutes is better than being angry in a room for 10 days,” said the post, which also lists the locations of the proposed rallies as well as contact information of organizers in some 20 cities, including Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, Orlando, Florida, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
“I expect as many as 30,000 people would be involved nationwide,” Tian Wang, the Los Angeles rally organizer, told China Daily. “We have received responses from 35 cities so far since we sent out the rally proposal on WeChat on Friday.”
Wang said he was the initiator and coordinator of the nationwide rallies. According to him, more than 3,000 people are expected to rally at Los Angeles City Hall on Feb 20. “Around 200 kids will come along with their parents,” he said.
In San Francisco, more than 1,500 people have signed up for the rally on Feb 20, but the location has yet to be determined.
“We want to stage the rally at the place where we can achieve the best effect of publicity among people of non-Chinese background,” said Andy Wang, an organizer of the San Francisco rally.
“It’s unfair to scapegoat Liang for past injustices,” he said, referring to police incidents in 2014, in which Eric Garner, a Staten Island man, died after police placed him in a chokehold, and Michael Brown, a teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, was shot and killed by a policeman. Both of the victims were unarmed black men, and both police officers accused of killing them were not indicted.
“We Chinese need to make our voice heard, and the aim of the rally is a way to strive for our rights through peaceful and lawful ways,” he said. Read more
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