The NYPD sergeant on trial for the fatal shooting of a bat-wielding Bronx woman has been found not guilty in the woman’s death, a judge ruled Thursday morning.
Bronx Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary said he found Sgt. Hugh Barry not guilty of all charges — including murder — in the Oct. 2016 shooting of 66-year-old Deborah Danner.
Barry, who opted for a non-jury trial, testified during the two-week proceeding that he fired two bullets into the schizophrenic woman–using his service weapon, not a taser–because he feared for his life.
“I just see the bat swinging, and that’s when I fired,’’ the 32-year-old said from the stand Tuesday. “I’m looking at this bat that can crack me in the head and kill me.”
Defense lawyer Andrew Quinn argued Wednesday that Barry was imminently threatened when Danner took a step in his direction holding the bat.
“If she hadn’t taken that step, we wouldn’t be having a trial. We wouldn’t be having a funeral,” the defense attorney said.
But prosecutors insisted during the proceedings that Barry ignored his training when he walked into the mentally ill woman’s bedroom — causing the already angry and agitated Danner to have become even more aggravated.
“[Barry] failed to fulfilled his duties as a patrol supervisor,” Assistant DA Wanda Perez-Maldonado argued during her closings. “He failed to make use of the resources available to him.”
“He created to the situation…..that led to her death,” Maldonado added.
The incident began when the 31-year-old sergeant and others arrived at Danner’s apartment after a neighbor reported a screaming resident.
Barry peered into the woman’s bedroom, where he spotted her sitting “on her bed furiously snapping a pair of green-handled metal scissors,” according to court papers.
He claims he asked her to put the scissors down, but she brandished them in his direction, and spat, “I’m not f–king coming out!”
She eventually dropped the scissors, but then pulled a baseball bat from between her bed sheets and lunged at Barry–who was also armed with a taser, the papers say.
He fired two shots from his service weapon, hitting her in the torso, and she later died at a nearby hospital.
The shooting prompted street protests and was immediately criticized by police commissioner James O’Neill, who told reporters, “We failed,” and Mayor de Blasio, who called Danner’s death “tragic and unacceptable.”
Barry’s case marks the first time an on-duty officer has faced murder charges since the notorious police shooting of Amadou Diallo in 1999.
Danner’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against the city.
A nine-year veteran of the 43rd Precinct, Barry could have faced up to life in prison if he was convicted on the murder charge.