Akai Gurley, 28 years old, lived with his fiancée and two young daughters in Brooklyn, New York. He was shot by a police officer on November 20, 2014, as he and a friend went down the stairs of her building in the Pink Houses projects. The officer and his partner were on a “vertical sweep” of the building from top to bottom, pointing a flashlight and a gun into the pitch-black stairwell. The officer who fired the weapon maintained that it had gone off accidentally. The officer’s shot ricocheted off a wall and fatally struck Akai in his chest.
Akai Gurley's death was one of several police killings of African Americans protested by the Black Lives Matter movement. On December 27, 2014, 200 people marched in Brooklyn to protest the fatal shooting of Akai.
The police officer’s manslaughter conviction was reduced to criminally negligent homicide. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and 800 hours of community service. New York City and the New York City Housing Authority paid Akai Gurley’s family a settlement of over $4 million.