Trial Starts For Cop Charged With Murder In The Death of Deborah Danner

Deborah Danner

Deborah Danner was a 66-year old senior citizen with schizophrenia.  On October 18, 2016, Deborah was in her Bronx apartment when a neighbor called the police and reported that Deborah was screaming. New York City Police Sergeant Hugh Barry arrived on the scene and shot Deborah dead.  For more about what happened, see my post from May 2017.

In May 2017, Barry was charged with murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide.  His trial began yesterday, January 30, 2018.  It is expected to last 3 weeks.  Barry has waived his rights to a jury trial and opted for a bench trial.  The question to be decided by Judge Robert A. Neary is whether Sergeant Barry had exhausted other options for safely containing Ms. Danner before he fired his pistol.  As I’ve written in other posts, this is clearly an abuse of discretion standard; not a beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

Deborah was intelligent.  She wrote a six-page essay about her illness to a lawyer saying, “We are all aware of the all too frequent news stories about the mentally ill who come against law enforcement instead of mental health professionals and end up dead.”

The Message In His Defense Is that Black Lives Matter Is An Inconvenience Because Had Deborah Been White, Barry Would Not Have Been Charged For Killing Her

The New York Times reports that the Sergeants Benevolent Association and other police unions, have accused the district attorney of caving to pressure from politicians and activists riding a national wave of outrage over police shootings of minorities. (Ms. Danner was black; Sergeant Barry is white.)

The union president, Ed Mullins stated “This was a political decision. Everyone is afraid of protesters.”

There we have it — the idea that Mullins conveys is that protests are a matter of inconvenience, resulting in officers being charged and facing trial.  Whereas, had Deborah Danner been White, there is the assumption that there would have been no protests leading to the arrest of Barry and thus, her life would not have mattered.

This is the type of double-talk that racial bigots make, and it is contradicted by the many killings of non-Blacks by officers who are charged, and acquitted.  Kelly Thomas, John Wrana, and Daniel Shaver immediately come to mind.  We still await on a grand jury’s decision on the fate of Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor who shot and killed Justine Damond.

Ed Mullins is right about one thing however. When there are no protests over the killing of non-Whites, it is more likely police are not charged.  Dillon Taylor, Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri, Misty Holt-Singh and Ethan Saylor immediately come to mind.

Hugh Barry Was Named In Two Police Brutality Lawsuits Related To Separate Incidents

Hugh Barry

The New York Post reports that the cases were filed in federal court within the past four years and alleged that Sgt. Hugh Barry dealt brutal beatings with his fists, feet or baton, in violation of the plaintiffs’ civil rights as racial minorities.

A 2012 case resulted in the city paying a settlement. A 2014 case went to trial in 2016.  A jury did not award the plaintiff any money but did find that other officers were at fault.  

Opening Statements

The testimonies of other officers on the scene are expected to be critical to the prosecution’s case.  The lead prosecutor, Wanda Perez-Maldonado, has said in court papers that Sergeant Barry, 32, a nine-year veteran in the 43rd Precinct, was impatient to take Ms. Danner into custody and failed to devise a plan with the other officers for keeping her corralled.

Within minutes of arriving, he signaled to the other officers to rush Ms. Danner, the prosecutor wrote. Indeed he was only in the apartment eight minutes before he fired the fatal shots. “It is telling that out of the six officers who were present in Ms. Danner’s apartment, only the defendant drew and fired his weapon,” she said.

Deborah Danner was in her bedroom and refused to come out — and neither was she letting anyone into her bedroom without a fight.  Barry decided otherwise.  Rather than backup and close the door to the bedroom and wait for specially trained personnel to arrive, he shot Deborah twice in the torso, killing her.   Barry created the very condition that he claims placed him in a position to exercise self-defense.

Ms. Perez-Maldonado, who is the chief of office’s Public Integrity Bureau, also has said in court papers that Sergeant Barry ignored his training. He failed to isolate Ms. Danner until officers from the specially trained Emergency Service Unit could arrive.

 “Defendant’s own testimony confirms that, without making or communicating any kind of plan, defendant rushed a paranoid schizophrenic who obviously did not want to leave her house and who in response grabbed a baseball bat,” she wrote in one filing.

Sergeant Barry’s lawyers plan to argue he acted in self-defense.

Reports on the trial will be posted in the comment section below.



Posted on 01/31/2018, in Black lives matter, Cases, Deborah Danner and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

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  3. Sad to say this but this is how I feel, he choose a non jury trial to insure that he will no get convicted. I have lost all hope for the justice system and have prepared myself for another let down. Not looking forward for the turnout of this trial.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The BLM movement has helped bring attention to how LEO’s interact with people who have disabilities among the many other accomplishments.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mindyme, it sure has. Philando Castille’s mom is using some of the money from the lawsuit to help the family of Justine Damond, so she’s paying it forward seeking justice. Ethan Saylor’s family got some legislation passed in Maryland, and Sandra Bland’s family did in Texas. I’ve said for a long time now that it’s time for the families of victims to come together regardless of their race.

      The thought that the president of police union would say what he did shows not only his bigotry, but also his ignorance, in my opinion.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s sad that even today there are police officers, and worse still police unions, who think they are and should be above the law. Since Officer Barry did not follow the prescribed methods of dealing with a mentally ill woman, in her own apartment and fearful of the officers present, he is guilty and should be found so even though this is not a jury trial. If he is not, then the whole criminal justice system requires an urgent overhaul and all police departments need to rid themselves of those officers who bring their departments into disrepute with unlawful killings.

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    • David,
      I agree. Barry did not have to go into Deborah’s bedroom, and he could have backed-off once seeing that she was in mental distress. She had not committed any crime.

      Liked by 2 people

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  7. Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018

    Jayquan Brown, the head security guard for the building where Deborah Danner lived, testified today of calling 911 for help when the 66-year-old resident suffered a serious meltdown on Oct. 18, 2016. He testified of hearing Deborah screaming and slamming cabinet doors.

    A tape of Brown’s 911 call was played in court.

    Brown testified that 4 police officers and 2 EMTs were already on the scene when another cop and Deborah’s sister Jennifer arrived on the floor.

    ” Brown said he then heard a “rumble, a tussle” followed by gunshots in rapid succession.

    “Jennifer Danner tried to run down the hall,” he recounted. “I physically grabbed her. She was frantic, (screaming) ‘Oh my God, they shot my sister!’”

    The above comes from the New York Daily News that, after reports that Deborah was 5′ 6″ and 225 lbs, now reports that she was 6 feet, making it sound as if Deborah’s physical appearance was a threat.


  8. EMT Brittney Mullings testified that when she arrived on the scene Danner was still alive. She testified that she waited in the hallway until police convinced Danner to drop a pair of scissors she was holding.

    Mullings testified that she never saw the scissors herself. She entered the apartment only after Danner said she would only speak to an EMT.

    Mullings said Danner was agitated. When talking with Mullings, Danner wanted to know who called 911 and why so many people were in her apartment. Barry passed behind Mullings as she was speaking with Danner. When prosecutors asked whether Barry had asked her any questions, she said no.

    Jayquan Brown, however, testified that he never saw EMT workers enter the apartment and described them standing in the hallway directly across from Danner’s door.


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  10. Friday, Feb. 3, 2018

    An EMT for the city named Patrick Moore said he was prepared to move emotionally disturbed Deborah Danner safely out of her Bronx apartment, but then the shooting started.

    Moore testified that he went toget a chair used to move patients when a half-dozen police officers simultaneously entered Deborah’s bedroom on Oct. 18, 2016.

    “I assumed they were going to restrain her,” said Moore under questioning from Bronx prosecutor Newton Mendys in the murder trial of NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry.”

    Instead, Moore recounted, he heard cops shouting at the heavy-set older woman to “put it down, get down” — apparently a reference to a baseball bat that Danner was holding.

    Deborah Danner asked to be left alone before fatal NYPD shooting

    “I heard a lot of commotion,” Moore testified in a Bronx courtroom. “I heard, ‘Get down!’ I heard the word ‘bat.’ Then I heard two gunshots. I heard the patient scream after the shots were fired.”


  11. Monday, Feb. 5, 2018

    There was interesting testimony today. Reported by the New York Daily News;

    ” Moments before Deborah Danner was fatally shot by NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry in her Bronx bedroom, the emotionally disturbed woman grabbed a wooden baseball bat, drew it over her shoulder, took a step forward — but never swung at the sergeant.

    On the fourth day of testimony in Barry’s murder trial, NYPD Police Officer Camilo Rosario — the cop closest to Barry at the time of the shooting — said that Danner made “a circular movement” with the bat, prompting the seasoned sergeant to pull out his firearm.

    “Drop the bat! Please, drop it!” Rosario recalled Barry yelling to Danner as he demonstrated the motion in front of a Bronx courtroom Monday using the same bat the mentally ill senior clutched before she died.”

    “If you come in here I’m going to fight you!” Rosario said Danner screamed back to Barry.”

    “I saw him with the weapon…I’m looking back and forth (from one person to the other),” the cop testified as he described the tense scene.”

    “She moved her left foot forward…towards the sergeant. And two shots were fired.”

    “I couldn’t do nothing,” Rosario said.”

    Officer John Martin also testified today saying that Danner was seated on her bed clutching the object, prompting Barry to pull out his firearm and “point it at her.” He testified that about 5 seconds passed before Barry pulled the trigger.


  12. Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018

    The judge is going to allow the defense to have an expert witness testify that a baseball bat can crack a skull.

    The “if not but for the fact” that Barry walked into Deborah’s bedroom with EMT’s and other officers present, talking to her like a drill Sargent while she was having a mental health episode, Deborah would not have gone for the baseball bat.


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  15. Friday, Feb. 9, 2018

    In spite of testimony that Deborah did not swing a baseball bat at Hugh Barry, a defense witness testified today to justify Barry shooting and killing Deborah to prevent her from hitting him with the bat.

    ” Biomedical engineer Chris Van Ee — who conducted the $22,000 study — asked three women to strike a crash test dummy’s head, mimicking the blow that might’ve been dealt by emotionally disturbed Danner, if Barry had not shot her twice first.”

    “Assistant District Attorney Newton Mendys was quick to poke holes in Van Ee’s study. ”

    “The three women used to run the test were not the same height or weight as Danner, he said, and the two bats tested were similar in size, weight and material — but not identical.”

    The above was reported on


  16. Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018


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  19. Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2018

    Closing arguments have been made.

    Judge Robert Neary plans to deliver his decision at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.


    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Thanks for all of your work in keeping us up to date on Ofc. Barry’s trial, Xena.


  20. Prosecutors argued that Hugh Barry created the situation that he claims placed his life in danger, killing 66-year old Deborah Danner. Had he followed his training, he would not walked past EMT’s and entered her bedroom.


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