Many residents, activists and community leaders are reacting to the death of 66-year-old Deborah Danner at the hands of NYPD sergeant Hugh Barry.
Danner was said to have a history of mental illness.
According to the NYPD, police responded on Tuesday, October 18 at 6:06 p.m. to a 911 call at the 630 Pugsley Avenue apartment building.
Five officers went up Danner’s 7E apartment where Danner picked up a pair of scissors to attack the officers.
Officers were able to get Danner to put down the scissors but she then picked up a baseball bat and began swinging at Barry
The sergeant shot her twice in the torso. She was rushed to Jacobi hospital where she was later pronounced.
Barry has been temporarily stripped of his badge and gun.
New NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill admitted publicly the NYPD “failed” Danner.
Multiple community members are asking why Barry did not use the taser with which he was armed.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. called the incident, “unacceptable”.
On Thursday, October 20, Diaz’s father, Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. held a press conference with Bronx elected officials, community leaders and clergy members.
“I must express my opinion that police officers need to be trained for cases like this,” said Diaz, “If and only if they must shoot, they must shoot in the leg and not in the chest.”
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo also spoke at the press conference and called for accountability for and among officers.
“Not to say everyone is at fault but to say those that are, need to pay the price for that mistake,” said Crespo.
“We love you – we know the work you do – it’s not easy and I don’t envy the job you have to do” Crespo said in a message to members of the NYPD. “But at the same time we have to be able to say to our own colleagues, ‘You did the wrong thing, you weren’t supposed to do that, you made us all look bad.’”
The day after the shooting, residents and community activists – including the New York City division of Black Lives Matter and NYC Shut It Down -gathered to protest the shooting.
The protesters began at 630 Pugsley Avenue and marched to Story Avenue and Soundview Avenue until they reached the 43rd Precinct.
On Thursday, October 20, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office released a statement saying the shooting was not in their jurisdiction and District Attorney Darcel Clark would be handling the investigation.
“I intend to conduct a full, reasoned and independent investigation into this matter, with an open mind, and any decisions that I make will be based upon the evidence,” said Clark.
For some Bronx residents, Tuesday’s shooting sparks memories of the 1984 shooting of 66-year old Eleanor Bumpurs.
Police shot and killed Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, as she was waving a knife at officers.
NYPD officers were trying to help evict Bumpurs because she had fallen behind on rent.