Photo: NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry (left) and Deborah Danner
Police officers can protect themselves and the public from harm and the acquittal of NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry on Thursday only serves to reinforce that truth that the United States Supreme Court has backed for decades.
The problem is that politicians and activists aren’t in a position to have to protect others so they can quickly condemn those that are.
New York City Police Department Sgt. Hugh Barry was found not guilty of murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the death of Deborah Danner. Danner brandished scissors and a bat before Danner used deadly force.
Barry said Danner swung the bat before he opened fire, but another responding officer, Camilo Rosario, testified that Danner
Defense attorney Andrew Quinn said “we’ve always felt confident we would win but you never know” until the verdict is announced.
The October 2016 shooting drew rare rebukes from New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said “something went horribly wrong here.”
Barry testified that before the shooting he persuaded Danner to put down the scissors and then tried to grab her before she had a chance to pick them up again.
“She was too fast for me,” Barry said. “The last thing I want was for her to go into the room and get the scissors.”
Barry said he drew his gun and pleaded with her to drop the bat, but she stepped toward him. He said he could not back up because five other officers were crowded close behind him.
De Blasio said officers are only supposed to use deadly force when “faced with a dire situation” and then “it’s very hard to see that the standard was met.”
Of course that language by De Blasio has nothing to do with case law.
Sgt. Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said on Twitter after the verdict that he offers his “empathy and sympathy” to Danner’s family. But he said he was outraged “for the malicious prosecution that was conducted for the most nefarious of reasons.”