BROOKLYN (WABC) --Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson is recommending no jail time and six months house arrest for former NYPD officer Peter Liang in the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley. For the first time since Gurley's death and Liang's trial, both sides met face to face.
Eyewitness News has learned it didn't last long and neither had much to say.
But what they did say to each other has been something they've wanted to get off their chests for some time.
"He wanted the opportunity to say to her that he knew how painful this was and he was very sorry. That what happened that night, his words were: 'It was the last thing in this world that he intended and the last thing that he ever expected,'" said Paul Shechtman, Peter Liang's attorney.
Shechtman was one of four people in the room when the former New York City officer met face to face for the first time with Akai Gurley's domestic partner, Kim Ballinger.
That private meeting took place Thursday morning at Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson's office.
It lasted less than 5 minutes.
Ballinger's attorney was also present.
Both sides say it had been in the works for a month.
They described the sit down as "somber and quiet."
Liang's attorney says at the end the two shook hands.
"Being innocent in this case and being sorry for what is an extraordinary tragedy are entirely consistent and so he wanted the opportunity to say to her that he knew how painful this was and that he was very sorry," Shechtman said.
Ballinger's lawyer says after Liang apologized she neither accepted nor rejected it, instead saying, "Because of your actions that night my daughter no longer has a father, I no longer have a partner, my life has been turned upside down, and I'm a single parent."
Meanwhile as this was going on inside, outside the DA's office dozens of demonstrators were protesting DA Thompson's recommendation that Liang avoid jail time, instead asking the court to sentence the former cop to six months home confinement and five years probation.
"That apology is not something that the family accepts. That apology does nothing. It does nothing to absolve Peter Liang from shooting and killing Akai Gurley. So he apologizes now over a year later after the incident," said Shavon Ford, Gurley's cousin.
The rookie cop was convicted last month of manslaughter for shooting and killing Gurley in a poorly lit stairwell in East New York back in November 2014.
The bullet ricocheted off a wall and struck Gurley in the chest.
"Where was the remorse not only after he pulled that trigger, when he also stepped over that body? When he stepped over Akai's body?" Ford said.
Gurley's family says Liang is only apologizing now because he doesn't want to go to jail.
Liang's attorney says he's wanted to apologize from the beginning, but was advised not to during trial because it could be used against him.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 14.