- NBC New York
A New York City police officer fatally shot a 66-year-old black woman who was wielding a baseball bat, police officials said Tuesday.
The officer, who was white, was also armed with a Taser but did not deploy it, police said.
The shooting occurred at the woman’s apartment in the Bronx on Tuesday evening after police responded to a call about a woman acting irrationally.
Police found the woman unclothed and armed with a pair of scissors, New York Police Department assistant chief Larry Nikunen told reporters. A police sergeant persuaded her to put the scissors down, but the woman then tried to attack him with a baseball bat Nikunen said.
The officer fired two shots into the woman’s torso, he said. She was pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center.
The woman, identified as Deborah Danner, had a history of erratic behavior, residents of her apartment building told CBS New York. Police had responded to “several incidents” with the woman in the past, Nikunen said.
- NBC New York
The officer, Hugh Barry, is an eight-year veteran of the department. He has been placed on “modified assignment,” meaning he is stripped of his badge and gun pending an investigation, CNN reported.
The investigation, conducted by the department’s force investigation division, will seek to determine why Barry opted for his service revolver over his Taser, Nikunen said.
- Facebook/Deborah Danner
In a statement, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. called the shooting “an outrage,” and accused the police department of “excessive force” against Danner.
“While I certainly understand the hard work that our police officers undertake to keep the streets of our city safe every single day, I also know what excessive force looks like,” Diaz said. “This elderly woman was known to the police department, yet the officer involved in this shooting failed to use discretion to either talk her down from her episode or, barring that, to use his stun gun.”
“That is totally unacceptable,” he added.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill pledged that the department and prosecutors would “figure out what went wrong.”
“We failed,” O’Neill said on Wednesday, according to CBS New York. “We do have policies and procedures for handling emotionally disturbed people. It looks like that some of those procedures were not followed.”
Local racial justice activists are planning a demonstration at Danner’s building Wednesday evening.
“America has to say enough is enough,” said Black Lives Matter New York president Hawk Newsome, according to the New York Daily News. “These police officers need to start using their brains and stop using their guns.”