NEW YORK – A police sergeant was charged with murder Wednesday in the shooting of a 66-year-old mentally ill woman wielding a baseball bat, a death the mayor called tragic and unacceptable.
Sgt. Hugh Barry pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Wednesday to charges that also included manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in Deborah Danner’s October death. He was released on bail.
Police were responding to a 911 call about an emotionally disturbed person when Barry, who has been with the New York Police Department for eight years, encountered Danner in her Bronx apartment.
Danner had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Officers had been called to her home several times before to take her to the hospital during psychiatric episodes and had been able to take her away safely, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the time.
On Oct. 18, Barry persuaded Danner to drop a pair of scissors she had been holding, police said. But when she picked up a baseball bat and tried to strike him, he fired two shots that hit her torso, they said.
Danner was black. Barry is white.
Assistant District Attorney Wanda Perez-Maldonado said Barry had disregarded his training regarding proper procedures for handling people with mental illness.
He had a stun gun, but did…