NYPD cops are fuming after Sgt. Hugh Barry, 31, was charged on Wednesday with murder for the October killing of 66-year-old Deborah Danner. The Bronx schizophrenic woman threatened the responding officers, first with scissors, and then a bat. The sergeant admitted to shooting her in her Castle Hill apartment. The morning after the shooting, Police Commissioner James O’Neill declared, “We failed” in regards to the incident. This is the department’s first on-duty officer to be indicted for murder since the death of Amadou Diallo in 1999. Barry faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Now as backlash against the Commissioner, the NYPD cops are circulating an image of a department firing-range target with Commissioner O’Neill’s face imprinted on it, as per the NY Post. The firing-range image is supposed to be a conventional drawing of an unknown man holding a bat.
“It’s unfortunate some people have to resort to unprofessional and inappropriate behavior,” Assistant Commissioner Peter Donald said of the stunt.
“O’Neill wasted no time in throwing Barry under the bus,” said a police source. “O’Neill’s reaction triggered the mayor to go on a 48-hour tirade, ultimately, I believe, impacting the jury pool here in the Bronx,” complained Ed Mullins, head of the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association.
Mrs. Danner was notorious in her neighborhood for spitting, cursing and screaming “I’m going to kill you!” at those around her. Just a month before her death, FDNY trucks rushed to her apartment as she threatened to turn on her stove and blow up her building. Still, the woman was mentally ill and critics question why Sgt. Barry drew his gun that day, instead of using the Taser he also carried.
“There’s no doubt he was following what any New York City police officer would have done [given] deadly physical force with a baseball bat. We’ve seen it. It’s taught in our training. He responded as he is required to do,” said Mullins. Mr. Mullins mused that the point of the fire–range target with a bat, that cops use in training, along with five other figures, is that these are the instances when a police officer must shoot in self-defense.
By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh