Officer Peter Liang was arraigned Wednesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court for "recklessly" causing the death of Akai Gurley, according to court documents.
In addition to the manslaughter charge, Liang faces one count of criminally negligent homicide, one count of second-degree assault, one count of reckless endangerment and two counts of official misconduct. He was released without bail.
If Liang were convicted on the charge of second-degree manslaughter, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
"The defendant ignored his training" when he used his firearm, lead prosecutor Marc Fliedner told the court. The defendant also did not try to help Gurley, instead retreating to a hallway and telling a fellow officer "I'm going to get fired," Fliedner said.
The prosecution will prove Liang made a "deliberate motion" with his firearm, he added.
Prosecutors don't believe Liang intentionally killed Gurley, the DA said, but he had his finger on the trigger and an innocent man was killed.
Liang new to the NYPD
Gurley, 28, was "a total innocent who just happened" to run into Liang in a "pitch black" stairwell at the Louis H. Pink Houses in Brooklyn, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton told reporters the day after the killing.
At the time, the NYPD said the fatal shot was an "accidental discharge."
Liang, with less than 18 months on the job and on probationary status, had been placed on modified assignment and stripped of his gun and badge pending an investigation.