Akai Gurley, shot dead by a police officer on Thursday in Brooklyn, NYC (Facebook)
Akai Gurley was shot and killed by a police officer on Thursday in Brooklyn, NYC Facebook

Protests have broken out in New York over the killing of an unarmed black man by a trainee New York Police Department officer, as protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri continue over the killing of teenager Michael Brown.

On Thursday, Akai Gurley, 28, was shot dead by officer Peter Liang in a stairwell in Brooklyn.

Gurley, who was unarmed, died at the scene.

On Friday NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton described the incident as an "unfortunate tragedy" and Gurley as "totally innocent". Police claim Laing discharged his weapon accidentally.

Last night, about 200 protesters descended on a Brooklyn police station, demanding justice and comparing police to racist organisation the Klu Klux Klan.

"NYPD, KKK, how many kids you kill today?" the demonstrators chanted.

"IF THE KILLER COP WALKS AMERIKKKA HALTS!" read a banner the protesters unfurled, reports the New York Daily News.

Protester expressed solidarity with demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, who are waiting to hear the outcome of grand jury deliberations on whether police officer Darren Wilson will face charges for killing Michael Brown, 18, on 19 August.

Already, protesters are on the streets of Ferguson, with many expecting Wilson not to be charged.

Earlier on Saturday, at the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network Akisha Pringle, 18, said her brother, Gurley, was an innocent victim.

"All he is, is an innocent guy walking down the stairs who was killed for no apparent reason at all, going home to his baby mother and his kids," she said.

Referring to the fact that he had a criminal record, she said: "Whatever he has done in the past, or whatever he has been arrested for has nothing to do with him being shot the other night," she said.

Gurley's partner, Kimberley Ballinger, said "This Thanksgiving these families will have to sit at a table with missing family members. There is no reason that this baby will not be sitting with her daddy this Thursday. Let's quit making excuses and start dealing with what is right and fair."

At the meeting, Reverend Al Sharpton compared the incident to the killing of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and called for a full investigation into the incident, reports the Guardian.

"We're not demonizing the police. We don't know what happened… [but] this young man should not be dead," he said.

Liang was conducting a patrol of a building in the Pink Towers complex with his partner when the incident took place at 11.15 pm.

Police sources told the paper was an accident, and that Liang discharged his gun when he was 14 steps away from Gurley, with the bullet hitting him in the chest. Police have also claimed that the stairwell lights were not working when the incident took place.

Gurley, who was with Melissa Butler, 27, ran down two flights of stairs after being shot where he collapsed.

"The issue of police going up and down dark stairwells with their guns drawn and their safety off is at the center of this Gurley case," Sharpton said.

Police sources said that no decision had yet been made on whether to fire Laing, who is currently on probation.

Trainee officers can be sacked without a departmental hearing.

"The police department must deal with its training, must deal with its procedures," he said. "The (Brooklyn) district attorney must deal with a thorough investigation."