New York City police union leaders blasted New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for promptly criticizing a police officer for a Bronx woman’s death.
The union leadership described the mayor and commissioner’s reaction as a “rush to judgement” after the commissioner and mayor criticized a police sergeant who shot and killed a 66-year-old emotionally disturbed woman who was wielding a baseball bat.
Deborah Danner, a black woman, was fatally shot in her Bronx apartment by Sgt. Hugh Barry of the NYPD earlier in October, after Barry and other officers responded to a disturbance and found the woman wielding a baseball bat. Danner was shot twice and later died.
The day after Danner’s death, O’Neill and de Blasio described the shooting as an “unacceptable failure by the NYPD.” The commissioner added Barry didn’t follow NYPD protocol when dealing with Danner, according to reports.
“So quickly, they determined that he was wrong,” Patrick Lynch, president of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said Sunday morning on a popular New York City radio program. He criticized the city’s mayor and police commissioner for not waiting until a full investigation could take place before their comments. The mayor and commissioner reacted before the sergeant in question was interviewed by investigators.
“There are a lot of facts in this particular incident that have not been made public yet,” Sergeants Benevolent Association (a separate police union) head Ed Mullins said during the same Sunday morning radio program. “I guess he [de Blasio] is concerned about his reelection and O’Neill is concerned about his position.”
The union leader accused the mayor of hamstringing the new police commissioner, “What I’m surprised at is how short a period of time it took for [O’Neill] to be neutered by the mayor.”
Following the incident, Barry, who is white, was placed on administrative leave and his badge and gun were removed. The district attorney’s office launched an investigation to determine whether Barry’s actions were criminal.
The NYPD also announced that it is conducting an internal probe to determine whether Barry followed department policy.
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