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02/12/2016 07:11 AM EDT
By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman
GUILTY -- Jury convicts NYPD officer in fatal shooting of unarmed man -- POLITICO New York's Colby Hamilton and Azi Paybarah: Liang - the police officer who in 2014 shot blindly into a darkened public housing stairwell in Brooklyn where Akai Gurley was standing, striking and killing him - was found guilty of 2nd degree manslaughter and other charges Thursday. The verdict from the mostly white jury of seven men and five woman came after nearly three days of deliberation.
Liang and his partner Shaun Landau were conducting a vertical patrol in the Pink Houses in East New York on November 20, 2014, when the duo began to enter a stairwell. Below them, at the same time, Gurley and his girlfriend opened the door. The noise, according to testimony during the trial, startled Liang at the top the stairs. He shot, and the bullet ricocheted and struck Gurley. The moments after were key to the trial. Landau said the argument over what to do next lasted over four minutes; Liang said 45 seconds.
-- Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson: "This officer was indicted not because of what's happening in other parts of the country, but because of what happened in that stairwell. He took out his gun, and he [pulled] that trigger, and he killed an innocent man, and he had to be held accountable. It's that simple." http://goo.gl/TtBtR3
-- Times' Sara Maslin Nir: "The shooting came at a tense moment in relations between the police and the city's black population - four months earlier, a Staten Island man, Eric Garner, died after he was placed in a chokehold by a police officer who had been trying to help arrest Mr. Garner for selling loose cigarettes. More broadly, Mr. Gurley's death became linked by many to the string of killings across the country of unarmed black men at the hands of the police. In New York, officers are rarely indicted by grand juries, let alone put on trial, for deaths that occur in the line of duty - no officer has been charged in the death of Mr. Garner in 2014." http://goo.gl/5zxzXf
CUNY TRUSTEE RESIGNS - POLITICO New York's Conor Skelding: A trustee of the City University of New York has resigned from the board because, he said, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took too long to nominate his successor. 'I tried to follow the tradition of staying on the board until the governor appoints somebody,' Pantaleo told POLITICO New York. 'The press of my law practice was such that I really could not do that any longer.' Pantaleo is DLA Piper LLP's American general counsel. Gov. David Paterson nominated him to a seven-year term on the board that began in 2008. That term expired in June. His resignation was effective Monday. http://politi.co/1o867Tx
CITY OF GHOSTS GETS PROMISE OF JOBS - Sean Kirst for the Buffalo News: "Dunkirk is a city of ghosts, and when you hear a confident voice promising good news, you wait to see and touch the promised result before you're sure it's real. Even so, there was an undeniable power in listening to Cuomo - on the stage of this high school, not far from the surging lake - keep repeating the line about 900 jobs, and then speaking with passion of a startup in Dunkirk. Trust me. If you're from there, you've waited a lifetime for a reason to believe those last four words." http://bit.ly/1PGfHnn
-- State officials are going to spend $200 million on the facility, which the pharmacy company Athenex will equip and occupy. It will spend $1.52 billion on salaries and equipment in five years. http://politi.co/1Lk6Dmn
COMPANY WITH DEEP CUOMO TIES PUSHING GAMBLING IN AIRPORTS - Post's Danielle Furfaro: "A company with deep ties to Gov. Cuomo is planning to bring electronic gaming - including a digital version of the New York Lottery - to JFK and La Guardia airports, The Post has learned. OTG Management filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying it hopes to introduce 'casino-style games, electronic lottery, monetized social gaming and games of skill" for its thousands of iPads mounted in the terminals.'" http://nyp.st/1POGS2L
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This was a terrible and tragic accident and not a crime. This bad verdict will have a chilling effect on police officers across the city because it criminalizes a tragic accident." -- Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, on Liang's conviction.
BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This verdict is a signal that, at least in this case, there are consequences for an officer's actions. Namely, you will not be allowed to kill young men of our community and expect to walk away free and clear." -- Rev. Al Sharpton, on Liang's conviction.
** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York's carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York's nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state's GDP. Learn more at NuclearMatters.com. **
TABS -- Post: "AKAI COP GUILTY: NYPD Officer convicted of stairwell slay" -- Daily News: "GUILTY: Rookie cop Liang convicted of manslaughter in death of Akai Gurley faces 15 years in prison" -- amNY: "GUILTY: NYPD Officer Liang convicted of manslaughter in stairwell shooting" -- SEE THEM: https://goo.gl/xkqOJa
-- Newsday: "NYPD COP GUILTY" -- Hamodia: "Flakes Give Way to Arctic Freeze in NYC-Area"
FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 3-col. below the fold: "Officer Is Convicted in Fatal Stairwell Shooting" -- WSJNY, 4-col. above the fold: "NYPD Officer Found Guilty"
LOCAL -- Queens Chronicle eastern: "THE PREET IS ON: Feds investigate Sanders" -- QC, southeast: "YOU'D BETTER WATCH OUT: Feds investigate Sanders" -- QC, western: "TRAM IT TO GEL! Trolly plan goal: Help Queens, Brooklyn come together" -- QC, south: "SOAKED: Winter storm causes massive flooding in South Queens" -- QC, mid: "OVERRULED: Community objection falls short as Stringer OK's Pan Am deal" -- Times Ledger: "Tech sector likes streetcar plan" -- Bayside Times: "City Council gives itself a pay hike" Brooklyn Weekly: "Bridge Park condo back in court" -- Brooklyn Courier: "PANORAMA DRAMA: Bridge Park condo back in court over view-blocking claims" -- Bay News: "WHAT THE FLOOD! Calls to beef up resiliency after light snow inundates coastal nabes"
REVIEW ALBANY'S SCHOOL VOTE - Albany Times Union's Casey Seiler: "Albany Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy and Mayor Kathy Sheehan are calling on the city's school district to reach out to the State Education Department for a review of Tuesday's trouble-plagued vote on the $180 million proposal to build a new Albany High School - a process marked by locked doors, long lines and allegedly unsecured paper ballots. The final tally approved the plan by 180 votes out of an estimated 7,900 cast. ... 'It is premature to state unequivocally that the results from Tuesday's vote should or should not stand until reports of polling place problems have been investigated,' said a joint statement from the mayor and the lawmaker, both Democrats who supported approval of the plan." http://bit.ly/1Qai55a
CAPITOL MOVES: Danny Donohue was re-elected head of the Civil Service Employees Association, the union annoUnced Thursday, his seventh term since 1994. He beat Kathy Garrison. On Donohue's slate is Mary Sullivan, who has been executive vice president over the same period. Also elected were secretary Denise Berkeley, treasurer Billy Walsh (who is new in his position), and regional presidents Nick LaMorte (Long Island), Lester Crockett (Metropolitan), Billy Riccaldo (Southern), Flo Tripi (Western), Colleen Wheaton (Central) and Ron Briggs (Capital Region).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: WAMC producer Sarah LaDuke (Friday), New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich, Democratic activist Melissa Sklarz, Inner Circle writer Larry Sutton, and Executive Editor Ben Max at Gotham Gazette, POLITICO New York's Production Editor Lettre (Saturday), former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, WNBC stalwart Gabe Pressman (Sunday).
OY - "Tortoise sex interrupts fashion show," by Post's Emily Smith: "New York Fashion Week started off with a bang (ahem) on Thursday when a 200-pound African spurred tortoise treated guests at Mathieu Mirano's desert-inspired presentation to a show of his own when he began mating with one of the female tortoises among the luxurious evening gowns. The creatures - the third-largest species of tortoise in the world and the largest mainland tortoise - were allowed to roam on the sand-covered runway among the models at Thursday's show at Pier 59 studios. They can grow to 33 inches long and weigh more than 230 pounds." http://pge.sx/1mwgXRK
EAT BEAT - "Mexican Restaurant Rosa Mexicano Eyes Brooklyn Expansion," by DNAinfo's Emily Frost: "The 31-year-old restaurant, which launched in Manhattan and has since expanded across the country, as well as to Dubai and Puerto Rico, was hailed by food critics for introducing New Yorkers to finer Mexican cuisine. Its Lincoln Square location, right across from Lincoln Center, opened 15 years ago and continues to do well ... In October, the chain opened its fifth Manhattan location at 41 Murray St. in TriBeCa." http://dnain.fo/1QbAW64
THE TALK OF WALL STREET -- "Even in the GOP, It's Cool to Hate Wall Street," by Bloomberg Businessweek's Josh Green: "Republicans up and down the ballot are trying to harness voters' anger by criticizing Wall Street donors. The Republican presidential candidates have turned on the financial giants that have been their biggest benefactors - and are attacking one another for being too close to the financial industry ... The most striking example of a Republican targeting Wall Street is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama. Shelby, who's being challenged by a Tea Party candidate, Jonathan McConnell, in the state's March 1 primary, has already spent almost $3 million on TV ads-more than anyone else in Congress-many of them attacking individual Wall Street banks by name. For Republicans such as Shelby, the purpose is defensive: to stave off a populist insurgency from the Right." http://bloom.bg/1QvEtq2
HILLARYWATCH -- MATT BAI on Yahoo, "There is only one way forward for Clinton now": "[W]hile Sanders focuses relentlessly on the big themes that preoccupy voters, Clinton's campaign feels like it's all about her - her résumé, her mettle, her 25 years of suffering through the indignities of public service. 'I'm with her' is the slogan for a campaign that seems to signify nothing beyond the joyless accretion of personal loyalties. ... Clinton has run a campaign that's all about her bona fides, and nobody's swooning. If she's still defending her Wall Street speeches and whining about the vast right-wing conspiracy a few weeks from now, the nomination could very well slip away from her, again." http://yhoo.it/1O4MOzd
CHRISTIE CHRONICLES - "His Star Faded, Chris Christie Faces the Challenge of a More Modest Political Stage," by Times' Alex Burns and Nate Schweber: "With his star power and influence diminished after a desultory performance on the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Chris Christie has returned to New Jersey to tend to a state he had at times abandoned during his run. ... [A]fter withdrawing from the race this week after a deflating sixth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, he must now contend with the opposite challenge: cramming his vast political ambitions back into a space the size of New Jersey, and reimmersing himself in the humdrum functions of his office. ... It was ... unclear how much political capital Mr. Christie had left in Trenton, where his campaign had drawn jeers from New Jersey Democrats, reveling in the misfortune of an adversary who once routinely humiliated them, and exasperated some Republicans, who struggled to maintain their political influence in the governor's absence." http://nyti.ms/1LkviXV
- "Christie megadonor Ken Langone hops on the Kasich train," by Politico's Daniel Strauss: "Kasich's campaign announced that they had brought over Langone on Thursday. Langone, a brash and outspoken moderate Republican who brings his own network of like-minded donors, has an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion, according to Forbes." http://politi.co/1QYSZJE
ZIKA VIRUS UNLIKELY TO SPREAD IN NYC - POLITICO New York's Dan Goldberg: The wintry weather means there are no active mosquitoes in New York City.
And the mosquitoes that do live here are not the same species as those that typically carry the Zika virus. Other tropical, mosquito-borne viruses like Chikungunya and Dengue do not usually appear in New York City and public health officials believe the chance of a Zika outbreak in the five boroughs is slim."There is virtually no risk of contracting the Zika virus in New York City at this point," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday, his first press conference on the subject. http://politi.co/20P1yif
AIRBNB'S EDITS -- The Awl's Matt Buchanan: "A couple of months ago, Airbnb released a batch of anonymized data about its hosts in New York City in order to show that its community "is made up of hard working families in all five boroughs who, during a time of economic inequality, depend on home sharing as an economic lifeline" and to prove, once and for all, just how transparent it really was. The illusion of transparency dissolved with little scrutiny : The release of the data was highly controlled, designed to be nearly impossible to analyze in-depth, and architected in such a way to mask just how prolific Airbnb's most active hosts were. But it's maybe worse than that: According to Murray Cox of Inside Airbnb and technology writer Tom Slee, the data were effectively "photoshopped" before release: "Airbnb ensured a flattering picture by carrying out a one-time targeted purge of more than 1,000 listings" in New York City." http://bit.ly/1KK7UYX
NYPD SURVEILLANCE -- Stringrays capture cell phone data -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: Civil liberties advocates say the New York Police Department has used devices called Stingrays to capture cell phone information by "mimicking a cell phone tower" more than 1,000 times in the last eight years. The New York Civil Liberties Union published records of the police use of the device - including the units that used them and the charges that resulted - that it obtained through a freedom of information law request. The NYCLU accused the NYPD of using the "military grade surveillance equipment" without a written policy for its use, after obtaining "lower-level court orders rather than warrants" and bypassing wireless service providers altogether.
-- WSJ's Sophia Hollander and Pervaiz Shallwani: "The NYPD called the NYCLU report 'misleading,' saying that it relied on a higher legal standard than the advocates claimed and restricted the information it collected through the technology. The NYPD said it didn't intercept contents of communication, including text messages or phone conversations. 'We get the number and that's it,' said Chief Kerry Sweet, the commanding officer of the NYPD's legal bureau. 'We do not pick up information from other people standing by, innocent bystanders, passersby. This does not lock on their phone or pick any information from their phones.' ... In response to the scrutiny, the NYPD said it was writing down its policies for using the devices. Privacy advocates called the absence of public discussion to date over these issues 'striking and troubling.'" http://goo.gl/cinMgF
TAKE A BREAK -- Uber agrees to limit its drivers' working hours -- POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein: After a New York Post-stoked uproar about the number of hours some Uber drivers are plying New York City streets, the car-hail app agreed Thursday to voluntarily limit driver hours. "Uber supports the Taxi & Limousine Commission's and Mayor's commitment to Vision Zero and any effort to ensure every driver and passenger on the road is safe," Josh Mohrer, Uber's New York City general manager, wrote in a letter to New York City taxi commissioner Meera Joshi. "To that end, the Uber bases want to help ensure that licensed For-Hire Drivers using the Uber app to receive ride requests are abiding by the current rule that prohibits medallion taxicab and street hail livery drivers from driving for more than 12 consecutive hours." http://politi.co/1PQhxW5
CASE CLOSED -- Vance, s announce arrests in deadly Second Ave gas explosion -- POLITICO New York's Colby Hamilton: "Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr., DOI commissioner Mark s and fire and police officials announced the arrest and indictment Thursday of five individuals connected to the deadly 2015 gas explosion in the East Village that leveled three buildings and claimed two lives. Building owners Maria and Michael Hrynenko, general contractor Dilber Kukic and Athanasios Ioannidis, an unlicensed plumber, were charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault, among other charges.
"A third defendant, master plumber Andrew Trombettas , was arrested for putting his credentials on paperwork for renovations done at 121 Second Ave, where the blast originated from, despite never performing work there or even visiting, according to investigators. According to Vance, the building owners, in a rush to begin renting $6,000-a-month apartments in the newly renovated 121 Second Ave, opted to run gas lines through flexible plastic hoses from the basement of the building, where gas lines were legally installed for the sushi restaurant on the first floor, to the apartments." http://politi.co/1o81CIE
REAL ESTATE -- HOT PROPERTY-"More Homes Sold on UES Than Anywhere Else in Manhattan Last Quarter: Study," by DNAinfo's Shaye Weaver: "More people bought homes on the Upper East Side than in any other neighborhood in Manhattan during the last quarter of 2015, according to a new report. There were 688 homes sales on the Upper East Side during the last four months of 2015, the highest among any of the borough's neighborhoods, according to a report by the Real Estate Board of New York. The Upper West Side followed behind with with 520 homes sales, then Midtown East with 254 sales and Midtown West with 239 sales in the last quarter, the report shows. ... The Upper East Side contributed roughly 25 percent to Manhattan's home sales, which was down by six percent, or from 3,228 in the last quarter of 2014 to 3,040 during the same time in 2015." http://dnain.fo/1TfuX0b
NAMING RIGHTS-"Staten Island borough president gets approval to name new streets for greed," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "A state Supreme Court judge has granted permission for Staten Island Borough President James Oddo to bestow unflattering street names spelling out greed and deceit on a private development he fought on the former Mt. Manresa site. In a decision issued Thursday, Judge Philip Minardo ruled Oddo has the authority to pick street names of his choosing, despite a complaint from the developer, Savo Brothers, that the three he chose - Cupidity Drive, Fourberie Lane and Avidity Place - are 'derogatory,' according to court papers. The builder had provided its own nine options from which Oddo could have chosen. Cupidity means greed, fourberie means trickery or deception and avidity is derived from a Latin word that also connotes greed." http://politi.co/1LkaQWV
BIG DEAL-"PwC near deal for 250K sf at Vornado's 90 Park," by The Real Deal's Rich Bockmann: "PricewaterhouseCoopers, the largest of the 'Big Four' auditing firms, is expanding beyond its Madison Avenue headquarters to some 250,000 square feet at Vornado Realty Trust's 90 Park Avenue, The Real Deal has learned. PwC is finalizing a deal to take a large block of space on the lower floors of the 41-story, 1 million-square-foot office tower just south of Grand Central Terminal, according to sources familiar with the deal. Asking rents in that part of the building are in the high $60s to low $70s per square foot." http://bit.ly/1PpPBad
THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: The day ahead: the Kings face the Rangers at The Garden. The Sabres host the Canadiens. In women's hoops, Villanova is at St. John's.
#UpstateAmerica: A wild turkey has been running amok at the Albany Times Union parking lot, attacking employees and trying to run into the building. http://bit.ly/1TVC516
** A Message from Nuclear Matters:
Some of America's existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America's carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.
In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state's electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state's GDP.
If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York's state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us at NuclearMatters.com. **
FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page: http://politi.co/1MkLGXV
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