Supporters of convicted police officer Peter Liang, who shot and killed a man while patrolling a stairwell in a Brooklyn housing complex, say he was a “pawn” and a “scapegoat” who got caught up in the politics of City Hall’s anti-police sentiment.

Liang, 28, who was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Akai Gurley, would have been “foolish” not to have his gun out when he shot and killed a man while patrolling the dark, dangerous staircase, Liang’s backers said.

“There were some errors but they don’t warrant a conviction,” said Lou Telano, president of the New York Veteran Police Association.

“People wait in dark stairwells to commit crimes. You have to be ready. You’d be foolish not to have your hand on your gun.”

Telano was in Chinatown Tuesday to help raise money for the Chinese ex officer’s defense fund. Supporters unhappy with the verdict have been making donations at the Lin Sing Association on Mott Street in Chinatown to help pay for Liang’s appeal.

“I think Peter Liang got caught in politics,” Telano said. ”There is an anti-police sentiment created by the current administration and special interest groups. He’s a pawn. He’s a scapegoat.”

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“I think Peter Liang got caught in politics,” Lou Telano said. (SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Telano said the Pink Houses complex in East New York where Gurley, 28, was killed, has a historically high murder rate.

But in 2014, the year Liang was shot, there were only two murders in the Pink Houses, according to police crime statistics. There were no murders there the year before and only one murder the year after.

Akai Gurley (pictured) was shot and killed by police officer Peter Liang in a Brooklyn housing complex.
Akai Gurley (pictured) was shot and killed by police officer Peter Liang in a Brooklyn housing complex. (DISTRICT ATTORNEY KINGS COUNTY)

Eddie Chiu, who helps run the Lin Sing Association, said Liang’s mother was in the office Tuesday morning to collect checks.

Chiu said more than 2,000 people have already signed petitions asking Judge Danny Chun to set aside the verdict or sentence Liang to probation.

He said Liang is “in very bad shape.”

“Most people who walk in here can’t believe it ” Chiu said. “They all believe the verdict was very unfair.”

By LISA COLANGELO and LEONARD GREENE Feb. 16, 2016 on New York Daily News.

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