NEW YORK—About 10,000 supporters of a former police officer convicted of fatally shooting an unarmed man in a darkened stairwell rallied in New York in one of several demonstrations held across the country Saturday to protest his conviction.
Peter Liang, who has said the shooting was an accident, was convicted of manslaughter this month in the death of Akai Gurley, who was fatally shot in 2014 inside a New York City public housing building.
Many of Liang’s supporters say he is being scapegoated because of anger over other police shootings in New York and across the country and that he has been treated unfairly because he is Asian-American.
The protest in Brooklyn was one of more than 30 held around the U.S., organizers said. About 2,000 people marched in Philadelphia, and hundreds gathered at smaller rallies from Phoenix to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Standoff ends with officer dead
JACKSON, Miss.—One law enforcement officer was killed and three were wounded early Saturday after a six-hour long standoff at a rural Mississippi house ended when authorities stormed the house and the gunman inside opened fire, authorities said.
Also killed was the man suspected of firing on the officers.
The standoff started Friday afternoon when authorities responded to a domestic dispute call at the home in rural northeastern Mississippi, authorities said.
But the man, holed up in his home with his wife and 10-year-old daughter, refused to come out, sparking a six-hour standoff with officers outside, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain.
Strain said man wasn’t shooting at officers before they entered the house but they had tried to talk with him for six hours and had fundamentally exhausted negotiations.
Britain sets vote on EU membership
LONDON—It’s been three years in the making, but a June 23 date has finally been set for the momentous “in or out” British vote on whether to abandon the 28-nation European Union.
Prime Minister David Cameron vowed Saturday to lead the charge to keep Britain part of the EU, winning the backing of most of his Cabinet and support for his “stay in” goal from political heavyweights in rival parties, including the opposition Labour Party and the Scottish National Party.
“I do not love Brussels, I love Britain,” Cameron told the nation in front of his 10 Downing Street residence. He went on to say that he has concluded Britain would be safer and stronger remaining in the bloc, and that jobs would be created by maintaining open trading ties with Europe.
He said a landmark deal reached the day before with EU leaders in Brussels would give Britain more control over its future, lessen welfare payments to migrants who come to Britain, and protect Britain from being absorbed into a feared European “superstate.”
Cameron said he was making good on a 2013 commitment to give British voters a chance to decide whether to remain in the bloc, which is seen by some Britons as meddlesome, overly bureaucratic, and unable to control its borders.
Serbia: 2 hostages killed in American airstrikes in Libya
BELGRADE, Serbia—Two Serbian embassy staffers held hostage since November died in Friday’s U.S. airstrikes on an Islamic State camp in western Libya that killed dozens, Serbian officials said Saturday, questioning why the Americans did not appear to know that foreign captives were at the site.
A U.S. official said American forces had “no information indicating that their deaths were a result” of the airstrikes.
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said there was no doubt that Sladjana Stankovic, a communications officer, and Jovica Stepic, a driver, were killed in the American bombing. They were snatched in November after their diplomatic convoy, including the ambassador, came under fire near the coastal Libyan city of Sabratha.
“Apparently, the Americans were not aware that foreign citizens were being kept there,” Vucic told reporters, adding: “But that will always remain an unknown fact to us.”
American F–15E fighter-bombers on Friday struck an Islamic State group training camp in rural Libya near the Tunisian border, killing at least 49 people, probably including an IS operative considered responsible for deadly attacks in Tunisia last year, U.S. and local officials said.
Nigeria: Detained people disappear
YOLA, Nigeria—First come the whispers, then accusations loud enough to raise alarms throughout Nigeria’s northeastern villages ravaged by extremist violence. Next, people accused of being Boko Haram are rounded up, sometimes by the military, sometimes by a civilian self-defense force. Many are never seen again.
The murmurs exploded into a rare open-throated protest recently when a teacher and two middle-aged farmers were taken away in Duhu village. Women who knew the men insisted they did not belong to the Islamic extremist group, and marched to a nearby military base to demand their release. Instead, the men were shot to death and their bodies were dumped outside town.
Nigeria’s military denied ever detaining elementary school teacher Habu Bello and farmers Idrisa Dele and Umaru Hammankadi last month. But several villagers told The Associated Press that they watched as the men were led away by uniformed soldiers who accused them of being Boko Haram fighters.
2 NYPD officers shot in incident
NEW YORK—Two police officers were shot in a confrontation with a gunman who slammed his car into a police vehicle early Saturday, in the second on-duty shooting of multiple officers in the nation’s biggest city this month, police said.
Officers William Reddin and Andrew Yurkiw were in stable condition after the 3:30 a.m. encounter, which happened as multiple officers converged and fired at an armed driver who had pointed a gun at some of the officers, fled and then rammed a police car, Police Commissioner William Bratton said.
Police were investigating how many officers fired and the exact sequence of events, including whether police themselves fired any of the shots that injured their colleagues. It’s standard for police shooting investigations to look into the possibility of what’s known as “friendly fire,” and Saturday’s shooting unfolded in what Bratton described as “a complex crime scene” involving eight officers and suspect Jamal Funes.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Yurkiw and Reddin were alert and expected to recover.