The city of New York is expected to pay $2 million to the family of Deborah Danner, a mentally ill Black woman who was killed by an NYPD officer in her home last October.
“The City has agreed to a settlement with the family of Deborah Danner, a person who struggled with mental illness, tragically killed in an encounter with police,” a city Law Department spokesman said, according to the New York Daily News.
“We carefully considered the facts impacting the civil claims against the City, including the criminal indictment of a responding officer and the disciplinary charges pending against him,” the spokesman added. “This agreement is a fair resolution of a tragic case and hopefully it brings some measure of relief to the family. The City is committed to preventing these tragedies from happening.”
Police were called to Danner’s home on Oct. 18, 2016, after she was reportedly acting irrationally. When officers arrived at the scene, the 66-year-old was wielding a pair of scissors. Sgt. Hugh Barry convinced Danner to drop the scissors, but the confrontation escalated when Danner picked up a bat and allegedly swung it at Barry’s head.
Barry shot Danner twice in the chest, killing her.
Barry claimed he fired his weapon because he was afraid of his life, and earlier this year was acquitted of all charges – including second-degree murder, and two counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide – in the case.
However, Danner’s sister, Jennifer Danner, claimed in her lawsuit that the deadly end to the encounter was unnecessary, noting in court papers that her sister had “a history of being harmless.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio harshly criticized Barry and the NYPD following the shooting.
“Miss Danner should not have died,” the mayor said at the time. “We were called to help her, and we ended up killing her,” he said.
Barry currently remains on modified duty as he waits for a disciplinary hearing with the NYPD.