NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Final summations are expected Wednesday in the trial of an NYPD sergeant accused of killing a mentally ill woman.
Sgt. Hugh Barry faces murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges.
He took the stand in his own defense Tuesday, attempting to prove he was justified in shooting 66-year-old Deborah Danner, a paranoid schizophrenic who was having an episode in her Bronx apartment and holding a bat.
“I just see the bat swinging and that’s when I fired,” he told the judge. “I’m looking at this bat that can crack me in the head and kill me.”
Barry was initially called to Danner’s Bronx apartment on Oct. 18, 2016 because she was in distress. The precinct was aware of her mental health status.
When police arrived, she was holding scissors but cops convinced her to drop them. That’s when she grabbed the bat and was killed by two shots from Barry’s gun.
“It was either he fired two shots to terminate the threat or we would be standing here talking about an officer who had a fractured skull or possibly even killed,” said President of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association Ed Mullins.
On the stand, Barry said a Taser was not appropriate defense against a swinging bat.
Soon after the shooting, both the mayor and police commissioner stated publicly that Barry did not follow department protocol.
Supporters of Danner say the situation never should have escalated that way.
“It was disturbing,” said Danner supporter James White. “It brought home everything we had heard the day after she was shot,
there were other options that absolutely should have been followed.”
Barry waived his right to a jury trial. Closing arguments are expected Wednesday afternoon before the judge decides the case.