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Police Academy Instructor, Who May Have Instructed Peter Liang, Placed On 'Modified Assignment'

by Chris Fuchs /
Image: NYPD officer Peter Liang departs the criminal court after an arraignment hearing in the Brooklyn borough of New York City
New York City Police (NYPD) officer Peter Liang (C) departs the criminal court after an arraignment hearing in the Brooklyn borough of New York City February 11, 2015. BRENDAN MCDERMID / Reuters

A New York City Police Academy instructor has been placed on modified assignment following an internal investigation of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) CPR instruction, police officials said. The investigation was launched after allegations of inadequate training surfaced during the criminal trial of Peter Liang, the former rookie NYPD officer convicted last month of second-degree manslaughter and official misconduct in the death of Akai Gurley, an unarmed man.

NYPD spokesman Det. Hubert Reyes told NBC News Wednesday that he could not confirm the name of the instructor, who the New York Daily News reported Tuesday was stripped and placed on administrative duty.

Officials also could not confirm whether the instructor taught CPR to Liang or his partner, former NYPD Officer Shaun Landau. Liang, who graduated from the academy in January 2014, had testified that he was given answers to the CPR multiple choice exam and that he didn't have a chance to practice on a mannequin. Landau and Officer John Funk, a defense witness, said at Liang’s trial that they too received inadequate training in CPR.

Liang fatally shot Gurley while on a vertical patrol of an unlit stairwell at the Louis H. Pink Houses on Nov. 20, 2014. Gurley’s friend who took the stairs with him, Melissa Butler, tried resuscitating the 28-year-old, who collapsed on the fifth floor landing, based on instructions relayed to her through a neighbor who spoke by phone with an emergency medical dispatcher.

When prosecutors asked Liang if he or Butler was in a better position to perform CPR that night, Liang replied, "I don't know what [Butler] does for a living so I couldn't tell." Liang, who said he was “sort of” trained in the life-saving procedure, also said that trying to get the address of the building stopped him from administering CPR.

Liang, who is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14, faces up to 15 years in prison.

Police Commissioner William Bratton announced on Feb. 23 that the NYPD had launched an investigation into alleged deficiencies in the department's CPR training.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association defended the instructor, saying that it was sure a "full review of the facts" will conclude the training officer did a thorough job. “The PBA will not allow one of our members to be scapegoated for an ineffective training program," President Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement Wednesday.

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