The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) Foundation released the following statement in opposition to the murder charge the New York City Bronx District Attorney’s (DA) Office brought against NYPD Sergeant Hugh Barry. The murder charge relates to an incident that occurred on October 18, 2016, where Sergeant Barry deployed his firearm as a means to defend himself from an assailant initiating a lethal attack in close quarters.
The FLEOA Foundation asserts that the Bronx DA succumbed to the influence of activist loudness and not logic in bringing a murder charge against Sergeant Barry. The Bronx DA’s Office has failed to assess Sergeant Barry’s conduct based on what a prudent officer under similar circumstances would have done. Instead, the Bronx DA is relying on their limited understanding of an NYPD training manual in passing legal judgment against Sergeant Barry. It is unfortunate that the DA opted to dismiss the importance of the NYPD’s own academy test question that validated Sergeant Barry’s use of deadly force in response to a subject wielding a bat.
It was equally disconcerting that the DA failed to recognize the success of Sergeant Barry in initially de-escalating the conflict by persuading the subject to drop a potentially lethal pair of scissors.
Rather than recognize the risks an officer faces when confronting an emotionally disturbed person whose behavior may change without cue, the DA opted to blame Sergeant Barry for not attempting to retreat from a close-quarters volatile situation. When dealing with hostile subjects in real time, there is no pause button for an officer to hit that would afford them safe passage in retreat.
The FLEOA Foundation further challenged the DA’s conclusion that Sergeant Barry intentionally ignored his training while charging into the volatile situation. To the contrary, Sergeant Barry had a legitimate legal purpose for being in the apartment in support of junior officers on scene, and he is not to blame for the irrational lethal behavior of a subject who was unfortunately suffering from severe mental illness. While it is tragic that the incident resulted in a loss of life, the DA should not prosecute Sergeant Barry for murder and use him as a scapegoat for the City’s inability to mitigate its mental health epidemic.
Prosecutors are duty bound to follow the rule of law, and not be influenced by politics or external pressure. The FLEOA Foundation stands behind Sergeant Barry, and the statements of Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins.
For more information about the FLEOA Foundation, visit www.FLEOAfoundation.org. For more information about FLEOA, visit www.fleoa.org.
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