New York Police Officer Hugh Barry Found Not Guilty For Killing Deborah Danner
This is becoming the norm for America. The dead cannot testify, and defendants testify what he or she thought the deceased was going to do that caused them to use discretion to take human life.
Hugh Barry, 32-years old, had been charged with murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for the killing of 66-year old Deborah Danner who was in a mental health crisis.
I followed the trial at this post.
Barry opted for a bench trial. There was no jury and the judge was the only person hearing evidence and deciding the case. Justice Robert A. Neary of State Supreme Court presided over the trial.
Prosecutors argued that Barry created the conditions that placed him within a distance of Deborah Danner that he claimed caused him to feel threatened when Deborah picked up a baseball bat. There were witnesses at trial that testified not seeing Deborah swing the bat at Barry as he claimed. There were also witnesses that testified that they were following their training to calm Deborah down when Barry came into the apartment, walked past them, and entered Deborah’s bedroom.
Barry testified that he could not back away from Deborah because of other officers being too close behind him.
According to the New York Times;
“Sergeant Barry conceded that he had not followed the department’s guidelines for dealing with the mentally ill. Since the killing of Ms. Bumpurs, officers have been trained to isolate and contain emotionally disturbed people, taking time and continuing to talk to them in an effort to persuade them to comply.”
Barry’s defense attorney argued that had Deborah hit Barry on the head with the bat, it could have broken his skull. This what-if apparently resulted in Justice Neary acquitting Barry on all charges.
The New York Times reports
Given that the sergeant had raised a self-defense claim, Justice Neary said that the prosecution had the burden of proving that he was “not justified in the use of deadly physical force.”
“The prosecution’s evidence has failed to meet that burden of proof,” he said.