Deborah Danner, shot and killed by NYPD at age 66 (243809)

A New York City police sergeant will get his day in court.

A judge set the trial date of Sgt. Hugh Barry to Jan. 30, 2018. Barry shot and killed 66-year-old Deborah Danner in her apartment last October after she swung a baseball bat at him. Danner was known by neighbors to have schizophrenia. Authorities said that Barry mishandled the situation by going to his service weapon instead of a stun gun. Barry was charged with second-degree murder, criminally negligent homicide and first- and second-degree manslaughter.

The death of the mentally ill woman recalled, for many, the police shooting death of Eleanor Bumpurs in 1984. Bumpurs was shot to death as police tried to assist in a city-ordered eviction. Bumpurs, who was shown to have a history of mental illness, was shot twice with a 12-gauge shotgun.

New York City Council Member Andy King said that Danner’s death was unnecessary.

“Every other year a police officer kills a Black person in a Black community,” said King in an emailed statement. “I am convinced that Deborah Danner, a senior wielding a baseball bat, could have and should have been restrained, not killed.

“If this individual was not a police officer, this individual would be charged with murder even if someone had a baseball bat,” continued King. “Justice must prevail and these officers must go to jail. Yes, we need better training for these officers, but that doesn’t discount the need for real accountability.”

Earlier this year, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said that Danner’s death was “an outrage.”

“Clearly, there were options available to Sgt. Barry which he failed to implement, and his conduct in this case is by no means a reflection on the great work of the New York City Police Department and its dedicated members,” stated Diaz in May.