Police investigate NY academy CPR training after stairwell trial testimony

An officer said he was fed answers during the CPR academy test and never opened the books during Peter Liang's trial

By Colleen Long
Associated Press

NEW YORK — New York internal affairs officers are investigating testimony during an officer's manslaughter trial that some police weren't properly trained in CPR, officials said Tuesday.

Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter and official misconduct Feb. 11 in the death of Akai Gurley. Liang accidentally fired into a darkened stairwell while patrolling a public housing project in Brooklyn, killing the 28-year-old Gurley who was walking with his girlfriend down to the lobby.

Liang and his partner, Sean Landau, both testified at trial that they deferred to Gurley's girlfriend to give CPR and that they received little CPR training. Landau said he was fed answers during the CPR test at the academy, never opened the books, and practiced compressions for only two minutes on a dummy.

Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday the training is "critical to the officer's safety and that of the public," and he wants to make sure the officers are receiving it. He said internal affairs was interviewing the entire class that graduated with the pair in 2013 "to validate or not" the testimony made by the officers.

"We were monitoring the trial, and immediately on that statement being made, we initiated an internal affairs investigation," he said. "It's very intensive."

Both Landau and Liang said they didn't help try to revive a bleeding, unconscious Gurley because they felt they weren't as qualified as Gurley's girlfriend, who was trying to render aid and was being coached by a 911 operator. The instructions were yelled out by neighbor Melissa Lopez, on the phone with the operator at the time. Audio of the call was played during the trial.

"Are the cops there?" the emergency medical dispatcher asked Lopez.

"Yes, they are here."

"Are the cops assisting her?" the dispatcher asked.

"No, she's alone with him, still doing CPR. I guess they are calling for backup," said Lopez.

Landau was not charged criminally. Both were fired.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press

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