A judge ruled Thursday that a manslaughter conviction will stand against a former New York Police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man in a public housing stairwell, The Associated Press reports.
Judge Danny Chun reached the ruling after lawyers for Peter Liang, who was convicted in February in the death of Akai Gurley, argued that a juror during the trial failed to reveal his bias against police, the report says.
But Chun determined that the juror, Michael Vargas, “did not knowingly withhold the information during jury selection,” reads the report.
From The AP:
Liang’s attorneys argued that Juror No. 9, Michael Vargas, had a bias against police and withheld information about his dad’s criminal record that would’ve seen him kicked off the jury.
Vargas had been questioned as part of a different jury pool on the same day Liang’s jury was chosen. He told a judge that his father had been arrested when asked whether “anyone in his family” had been arrested or convicted of a crime.
“My father was arrested, I was a young child, I never knew the truth because they tried to hide it from me but I guess it was manslaughter,” Vargas said.
Vargas was dismissed from the prior case, but became a member of the prospective pool in Liang’s case, where he was asked, the report says, “‘Have you or anyone close to you been accused of a crime?’”
He later explained that “he answered no in part because he wasn’t close to his father and it didn’t come to his mind. He had been raised in group homes and hadn’t seen his dad in decades.”
He told a local newspaper after the verdict, however, that his father was sent to prison for accidentally shooting a friend to death, writes The AP. Liang’s attorney, Paul Shechtman, expressed disappointment with the judge’s decision.
SOURCE: Yahoo News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty