Furious NYPD cops are circulating a shooting range target featuring the police commissioner’s face superimposed on it after one of their sergeants was indicted on second-degree murder charges for fatally shooting a mentally ill woman, according to multiple reports.
Sergeant Hugh Barry was arrested on Wednesday and later pleaded to murder charges for shooting 66-year-old Deborah Danner twice in the chest in the bedroom of her Bronx apartment last October after she allegedly came at him with a baseball bat.
The woman reportedly had a history of mental illness and officers had previously been called to her apartment on several occasions for psychotic episodes.
The firing range target depicts a doctored image of a man holding a baseball bat with Police Commissioner James O’Neill’s face superimposed on it. The image was circulated among NYPD members on Thursday, reports the NY Daily News.
Barry has been criticized for not using his stun gun or waiting for specially trained Emergency Services Unit cops to arrive on the scene before resorting to deadly force.
“It’s unfortunate some people have to resort to such unprofessional and inappropriate behavior,” said NYPD spokesman Peter Donald.
Only one day after the deadly shooting, O’Neill issued a statement that the NYPD officer “failed” Danner.
“It’s distressing to me, the fact that it did end up this way,” he said on Oct. 21. “We just have to take a long, hard look at what happened … What’s clear in this instance is that we failed.”
Sergeant Ed Mullins, the head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, called the murder charge “obscene” and insisted that Barry “did not go to work intending to kill anyone.”
“Officers risk their lives going into these situations. It’s a split-second decision,” Mullins said during a press conference.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also issued a statement defending the sergeant’s actions, saying: “Our officers are supposed to use deadly force only when faced with a dire situation. It’s very hard to see that standard was met. Something went horribly wrong here.”
Irate NYPD officers also set up a GoFundMe campaign earlier this week in their colleague’s honor, which has generated nearly $31,000 as of Saturday afternoon.
Sign up to get breaking news alerts from Dennis Michael Lynch.