Bronx, New York
October 18, 2016
Agencies: New York Police Department NYPD
Cause of death: Shooting
Last updated: over 3 years ago
On Tuesday October 18, 2016, Ms. Danner, 66, was fatally shot by a police sergeant in her Bronx apartment in a confrontation that was condemned in swift and striking terms by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.
Though Danner was armed with a pair of scissors and a baseball bat in her Bronx apartment, the mayor and NYPD top cop James O’Neill agreed the bungling that led to the bullets was avoidable.
“The shooting of Deborah Danner is tragic and it is unacceptable,” the mayor declared. “This should never have happened. It’s as simple as that. Deborah Danner should be alive right now. Period.”
Barry — who had never fired his gun on duty during his eight years with the NYPD — was stripped of his badge and weapon after blasting two bullets into Danner during the incident just after 6 p.m. Tuesday inside her Castle Hill home.
Relatives of the slain woman immediately demanded federal, state and city investigations into the fatal police shooting, reminiscent of the 1984 police killing of Eleanor Bumpurs. Bumpurs, like Danner, was 66 when she was killed by a city cop.
Among the unanswered questions in this killing: Why didn’t Barry use his Taser instead of reaching for his gun?
Another, raised by the dead woman’s cousin, was just as simple: Why didn’t police lock Danner inside the apartment until the Emergency Service Unit arrived?
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On October 27, it was reported that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill responded to the Danner shooting by stripping the police officer of his gun and badge.
On Monday, December 5, 2016, officials announced that a special grand jury would investigate the fatal police shooting of Deborah Danner.
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“You could hear Deborah screaming and yelling, ‘F you! Die! Leave me alone!’” Brown said of the scene when he reached her seventh floor apartment. “She was slamming her cabinet doors, screaming.”
A tape of Brown’s 911 call was played Thursday at the trial of NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry, accused of murder for pumping two bullets into Danner during a confrontation in her bedroom.
The sound of Danner’s shrieking was audible in the background.
On Thursday February 15, 2018, a Bronx State Supreme Court justice acquitted the NYPD sergeant of murder and other charges. Sgt. Hugh Barry, a 9-year NYPD veteran, opted to have a nonjury trial with Neary deciding the verdict. In his brief statement read in a packed courtroom, Neary said prosecutors in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office had failed to meet their burden of proof in the case.
Nearly 50 Black Lives Matter protesters marched from Danner’s home to the 43rd Precinct stationhouse Wednesday evening chanting “Justice for Deborah Danner,” “Black Lives Matter”and “F--k the police.”
“We’re being murdered,” said activist Hawk Newsome. “There is no justification for killing a 66-year-old mentally ill woman. We need this police officer to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”October 2016 KING: An open letter to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill after the NYPD killing of Deborah Danner