NYPD officer Peter Liang has been convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed black man in a darkened stairwell.
Peter Liang, 28, could face up to 15 years in prison for killing 28-year-old Akai Gurley in 2014.
Advocates for police accountability have closely watched the case because US police officers who injure or kill civilians rarely face criminal charges.
Akai Gurley’s death came amid several high-profile cases in which officers killed unarmed black men.
The deaths of black men, such as Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked protests across the US.
The officer’s supporters have said Peter Liang, who is Chinese American, is being made a scapegoat for previous injustices. His defense team said the shooting was an accident, not a crime.
However, prosecutors said Peter Liang, a newly recruited officer, handled his weapon recklessly and did little to help Akai Gurley after he was shot.
“Instead of shining a light, he pointed his gun and shot Akai Gurley,” prosecutor Joe Alexis said in his closing argument.
Peter Liang testified that he was patrolling a stairwell inside a public housing complex in Brooklyn when he was startled by a sound and fired his weapon by mistake.
The bullet ricocheted off the wall and hit Akai Gurley, who was standing on a lower floor.
“I was panicking. I was shocked and in disbelief that someone was hit,” said Peter Liang who wept during his testimony.