New York Police Sergeant Hugh Barry was arrested Wednesday, May 31, 2017, for the shooting death of Deborah Danner. Barry faces charges for second-degree murder, first and second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide according to an unnamed source at the NYPD.
This arrest follows months of investigation into the death of Danner, who was 66 years old at the time and suffered from schizophrenia. NY Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Police Commissioner James OʼNeill stated at the time that Barry had failed to follow the proper protocol for dealing with suspects with suspected mental health problems.
On Jan 19, 2017, the City of New York Department of Investigation’s Office of the Inspector General released a report analyzing the NYPD’s Crisis Intervention Team initiative. Their investigation had found that while the NYPD had created an effective Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program, there were still shortcomings in the department. Among the deficiencies, NYPD had not implemented a CIT program that dispatches CIT-trained officers in mental health crisis situations, had not created a dedicated staff to coordinate CIT efforts and had not aligned NYPD policy with the goals and principles of NYPD’s CIT training.
Bronx District Attorney, Darcel Clark sought to impanel a grand jury to investigate the fatal shooting. “I have pledged to the people of the Bronx to conduct a thorough, fair investigation into this matter and I believe that presenting the evidence to a grand jury will best accomplish that goal. It is important to determine exactly what happened in this tragic incident.”
A spokesperson for Clark said that Barry had been indicted and would appear in court at 3 pm Wednesday in the Bronx.
The president of the Sergeantʼs Benevolent Association, Edward Mullins, came out against the decision to indict, calling it “an absolute disgrace” in an emailed statement. Mullins said Commissioner OʼNeillʼs criticisms, “before any investigation was even commenced,” was something that “undoubtedly tainted the grand jury pool and denied any semblance of due process,” for Barry.
Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President, praised the grand jury indictment. “What happened to Deborah Danner was an outrage. Clearly, there were options available to Sgt. Barry which he failed to implement.”
Rev. Al Sharpton called the indictment “a good step in a long walk toward justice.”