NYPD Sergeant Acquitted in Death of Mentally Ill Woman Deborah Danner

An NYPD sergeant who shot and killed Deborah Danner, a woman suffering from mental illness, has been acquitted of all charges. We’ve got the story on the court’s decision.

The trial has come to a close for 32-year-old NYPD Sergeant Hugh Barry. He was facing charges in the shooting death of Deborah Danner, who suffered from mental illness. Barry has been acquitted of all charges.

The Shooting of Deborah Danner

On October 18, 2016, Sgt. Barry and three other officers responded to a call about a woman in the midst of potentially acting out violently. The woman, 66-year-old Danner, was allegedly naked, swearing, and armed with a set of scissors.

According to Barry, they managed to talk Danner into dropping her scissors and coaxed her from her room. But it’s said that she then grabbed a baseball bat and headed towards Barry. Barry drew his gun and fired two bullets into Danner.

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The Charges and the Trial

After a grand jury investigation, Barry was charged with second-degree murder, two counts of manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide.

Sgt. Hugh Barry

Sgt. Hugh Barry Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxYpY08Thfc

Danner was a paranoid schizophrenic who stayed numerous times in mental hospitals over her lifetime.

According to prosecutors, there were multiple protocols that should have been used when dealing with a mentally ill person like Danner that weren’t followed in this case.

However, according to Barry, Danner had charged him with a baseball bat and he was left with no other options.

The trial became somewhat of a circus.

Many just saw the black and white of the situation: a white cop with a gun; a black, elderly woman with a baseball bat.

For others, it was more complicated than that, with the self-defense concept coming into play.

The Mayor of New York and the police commissioner both made statements condemning Barry’s actions. The police union defended Barry in the press.

The Acquittal and Reaction

On February 15, 2018, Sgt. Hugh Barry was acquitted of all charges.

Justice Robert A. Neary said that the prosecution failed to meet the burden of proof in terms of the claim that Barry was “not justified in the use of deadly physical force.”

The police union is calling for the mayor, police commissioner, and district attorney to apologize to Barry.

Danner’s friends and family have labeled the verdict a tragedy. Many are not surprised that the trial ended this way, due to the fact that Barry is a cop.

After the trial, Barry headed to mass at a nearby church. Danner’s friends and family left disgusted heartbroken, and wanting to know how this verdict was even reached.


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