NYC cop on trial for fatal stairwell shooting takes stand

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer has taken the stand to give his account of the deadly shooting of an unarmed man in a Brooklyn stairwell.

Officer Peter Liang (lee-ANG’) began testifying Monday in his own defense. He’s charged with manslaughter in the 2014 death of Akai (ah-KEYE’) Gurley.

Liang began by describing what are called “vertical patrols” in stairwells. He noted that public housing stairways can be sites of crime and danger.

Liang and his partner were patrolling a darkened stairway in a Brooklyn housing complex when Liang fired. The bullet ricocheted and hit Gurley a flight below.

Liang’s lawyers say the shooting was an accident, not a crime.

Prosecutors say Liang handled his weapon recklessly and did nearly nothing to help Gurley after realizing what had happened.