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Union heads denounce NYPD commissioner's comments about Bronx shooting

Commissioner James O'Neill remarked the day after the shooting that the department had "failed" the victim.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, left, and Mayor Bill de Blasio at a news conferenGetty Images

The heads of two unions representing city police officers accused the new NYPD commissioner of political pandering and making a “rash call” in his comments about last week’s shooting death of a Bronx woman by a police sergeant.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association criticized Commissioner James O’Neill for saying on the day of the shooting that the department had “failed” Deborah Danner, 66, the emotionally disturbed woman who was killed last Tuesday during the confrontation with the sergeant.

“I thought he made a rash call too quickly, when we had an unfortunate death of an emotionally disturbed person by a police sergeant,” Lynch said on a Sunday morning radio program. “And so quickly, they determined that he waswrong—before an investigation, before the sergeant was interviewed, before talking to any of the people that were involved.”

Sgt. Barry Hugh shot Danner as she began to swing a baseball bat at him, police said.

The next day, O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio described the shooting as unacceptable and others faulted Hugh for using excessive force. Hugh has been stripped of his badge and gun and placed on administrative leave.

The Bronx District Attorney’s Office is investigating the shooting.

Sergeants’ Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins also blasted the comments made by the mayor and commissioner after the shooting. He accused O’Neill of “political pandering” to the mayor.

“I'm not surprised at him,” Mullins said of O'Neill, who was sworn in as commissioner last month. “What I am surprised at is how short a period of time it took for him to get neutered by the mayor, and that's pretty sad.”

 

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