What you should know about Peter Liang & Daniel Holtzclaw

If you know of these two names, then you know that they were involved very different situations. However, both were cops, and both have been convicted for horrible crimes against black victims.

Both are Asian Americans.

For those who don’t know these two men, here are some updates you should know with hyperlinks for the full story.

On November 20th, 2014 in New York City, former officer Peter Liang opened fire on a staircase, and the bullet ricochet and fatally hit Akai Gurley, a 28 year black man. He was “found guilty of official misconduct for failing to help Mr. Gurley as he lay on a fifth-floor landing.” He may be in prison for 15 years for second-degree manslaughter. The sentence comes April 14th.

On June 2014, former officer Daniel Holtzclaw began sexually assaulting and raping women, specifically black women, in Oklahoma City. He would prey on these women by abusing his authority as a police officer. He was “convicted on 18 of 36 accounts” and sentenced to 263 years of prison.

Why am I writing a blog about these two different men who committed different crimes? To highlight the dire need for reformation in police training. To compare these two stories with police brutality to the black population by white officers, which includes how these white officers were convicted…or, you know, not convicted. Nor indictedSeriously, not even indicted. (Yes, each hyperlink has its own article of a separate example from all over the States. It’s almost like it’s systematic!)

The need for reformation in police training:

  1.  Peter Liang claims he did not have adequate training in CPR (like police officers are supposed to), which is why he did not rush to Gurley’s side. His partner attested to the same. What the heck, NYC?
  2. Train police officers how to maintain control with unarmed violent people, who may be violent because of mental illness–like Anthony Hill. Instead of fatally shooting them.
  3. Train police officers how to maintain control with unarmed people, who may be trying the breath–like Eric Garner. Instead of fatally choke-holding them.

The need for reformation in our justice system:

  1. All these officers (mostly white) not even indicted.
  2. Not.
  3. Even.
  4. Indicted.

However, we have here Peter Liang convicted and Daniel Holtzclaw convicted and sentenced. While Peter Liang’s Asian-ness is obvious with his last name and more stereotypical Asian looks, Daniel Holtzclaw is half Japanese and half white. Some articles do not mention his race while claiming this as a “minor miracle” for black women. When I was first following Holtzclaw trial, I read articles that did not mention Holtzclaw’s Asian-ness. (However, as he was sentenced, I see it mentioned.) Peter Liang’s conviction has also brought backlash from some of the Asian American community.

Protesters claim that Gurley’s killing was accidental and not at all an abuse of power.

These protesters claim that Liang is a scapegoat for the system, that Liang is being made an example of how the system does serve justice. While I do agree that Liang is being used for this, I do not agree that his conviction is wrong. It’s how police officers should be tried for their crimes. Peter Liang definitely did commit an official misconduct.

Liang’s trial, Holtzclaw’s trial, and these protesters made me think about the sort of gray area that Asian are in in the States. My classmates Helen Mun and Evan Yi go more in depth about the Peter Liang conviction and subsequent protests in their podcast. While I believe the justice system is working in the two cases of these two Asian American men, I wish I can see the justice system working for white men as well.

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