Officer Melissa Brown, an instructor at the NYPD Police Academy has been stripped of her gun and shield, the Daily News reported Tuesday. Brown was serving at the NYPD Recruit Training Section and has now been placed on modified duty where she is restricted to desk work. Sources for the Daily News say that her reassignment comes from her failure to properly train a class of recruits in CPR. Peter Liang, the officer convicted of manslaughter and failure to perform CPR on his dying victim, was a member of the recruit class of 2013.
The shooting happened November 20, 2014 and Liang was found guilty February 16, 2016.
According to the prosecution at his trial, Liang’s service weapon went off by mistake as he and his partner entered a dark stairwell in the Pink Houses, a Brooklyn housing project where 28-year-old Akai Gurley was walking with his girlfriend. The bullet ricocheted off of a wall and pierced Gurley’s heart. The jury concluded that Liang’s finger should never have been on the trigger of his service weapon. He was also convicted of official misconduct for denying Gurley CPR.
Liang’s partner on the patrol, Shaun Landau was given immunity for his testimony. Jurors, however, noted that he should have been held responsible for the pair’s failure to help Gurley.
While serving as a defense witness, Gurley’s girlfriend testified that as she knelt in a pool of Gurley’s blood and attempted CPR, the two officers walked by briefly before leaving the scene.
“I didn’t know if I could do it better than her,” Liang said at trial.
Landau told the court that he had not performed CPR because he had not been trained and didn’t want to hurt the victim. He claimed to have received only two minutes of CPR while at the police academy. He also says he had not read the CPR textbooks because his instructor, Melissa Brown, had given out most of the answers to the students.
The last 10 questions they didn’t want to give the answer because they didn’t want everyone to have identical scores,” Liang testified.
John Funk, another of Liang’s classmates at the academy, testified that his minimal CPR training was led by a single instructor for some 300 students. The class ran out of time before Funk was able to practice on one of the mannequins, he testified.
The NYPD launched an investigation into CPR training at the academy after these claims were made. They were able to find other students with similar complaints. Sources at the NYPD have said they intend to increase the CPR training requirements for new recruits.