Family of mentally ill Black woman shot by NYPD cop settles shooting death case for $2 million
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The family of Deborah Danner, a mentally ill woman who was killed in her Bronx home by an NYPD sergeant, settled her shooting death case for $2 million.
Sgt. Hugh Barry responded to a call of a disturbance on Oct. 18, 2016 by Danner herself. Upon arrival, police claimed Danner was agitated, naked and armed with scissors. Barry claims he persuaded her to put down the scissors but then she proceeded to pick up a baseball bat and started swinging at him.
Barry says he fired twice to defend himself, and said he feared for his life. He killed 66-year-old Danner, who stood 5-foot-6. Barry is 6 feet tall and 225 pounds, according to the suit.
Danner reportedly suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
The sister, Jennifer Danner said in the lawsuit that Danner had “a history of being harmless” and the excessive force was unnecessary.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill were not convinced that the shooting of Deborah Danner was justified at the time, calling her death “a failure of the NYPD,” as protocols for dealing with the mentally challenged were not met during the incident. Mayor de Blasio expressed his discontent in an emotional press conference emphasizing the use of deadly forced is only deemed necessary in dire situations, the NY Daily News reports.
The city’s Law Department on Thursday released a statement sharing some of the mayor’s sentiments.
“The City has agreed to a settlement with the family of Deborah Danner, a person who struggled with mental illness, tragically killed in an encounter with police,” said a city Law Department spokesman.
“We carefully considered the facts impacting the civil claims against the City, including the criminal indictment of a responding officer and the disciplinary charges pending against him,” the spokesman said.
“This agreement is a fair resolution of a tragic case and hopefully it brings some measure of relief to the family. The City is committed to preventing these tragedies from happening.”
Earlier this year Barry was found not guilty in Danner’s death.
He still faces a disciplinary hearing.