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NY Mayor Takes Cop’s Gun and Badge

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill responded to the recent fatal shooting of a mentally ill woman in a Bronx apartment by stripping the police officer of his gun and badge. According to The New York Times, Deborah Danner, 66, was fatally shot by Sgt. Hugh Barry. The killing triggered mass protests and Barry was also placed on modified duty less than six hours after Danner was killed. During the protests that came on the heels of the fatal shooting, one man held a sign that read, “Stop Police Terror.” Two women held yellow signs on sticks that read, “Justice for Deborah Danner.”

Both the mayor and the commissioner said the officer had failed to follow the Police Department’s protocol for dealing with an emotionally disturbed person. Barry was equipped with a stun gun he could have used to subdue Danner, de Blasio said. And Barry should have waited for more specialized officers, from the department’s elite Emergency Service Unit, to arrive.
“What is clear in this one instance: We failed,” O’Neill said of the shooting. Meanwhile, de Blasio, a Democrat, called it “tragic and unacceptable.”

Barry, 30, was named in two police-brutality lawsuits related to separate Manhattan incidents, according to news reports. The cases were filed in federal court within the past four years and alleged that 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, with that plaintiff receiving no money from a Manhattan jury earlier this year.

“There was an opportunity to slow things down here and wait to get everything set up the right way,” Mr. de Blasio said. Barry is one of four named and 20 unnamed police officers accused in the racially motivated beating of three Latino men outside a hip-hop concert at Tammany Hall nightclub on the Lower East Side in June 2011. Only one of the three plaintiffs, Gabriel Diaz, named Barry as an alleged assailant.

Diaz accused Barry and at least three other officers of kicking him and beating him with batons even after he was subdued. Diaz required “continuous treatment at New York Methodist Hospital,” his suit said. Sources said Diaz’s injuries required several staples to close, and he showed up at his first court appearance wearing a neck brace and limping. The charges against Diaz, including assaulting officers, rioting, resisting and possessing marijuana, were eventually dismissed.

Diaz’s case went to trial, but he received nothing. His two fellow plaintiffs, Jessy Ayala and Luis Pena, were more successful, winning settlements from the city on allegations that officers other than Barry punched and kicked them, sprayed mace in their eyes and beat them with batons. According to news reports, the Law Department did not immediately detail the settlements from both cases.

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