Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Mayor and Police Commissioner throw Sgt. Barry under the bus,
Impose sanctions in an unusually rapid response


(Wednesday October 19, 2016, Castle Hills, The Bronx, NYC) The Crime Scene Unit had barely completed their methodical tasks in the apartment where hours earlier Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old woman with a long history of mental health problems was fatally shot by NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry, an 8-year veteran of the Department, when the police Commissioner very publicly levied sanctions on Sgt. Barry.  Commissioner James O’Neill placed Barry on “modified” duty which includes his surrendering his gun and shield.  The swiftness of O’Neill’s response and the irresponsible nature of his public comments sent a clear and disturbing message to the NYPD rank and file.  “How can he say that we ‘failed’ in this incident before any kind of investigation has begun?” asked one high ranking MOS from the 43rd Precinct within the bounds of which this incident transpired.  “If some gross miscalculation or terrible lack of judgment was at the heart of this shoot, the facts will of course come out”, commented another NYPD ranking official not for attribution.

Indeed, the new Commish acted in an uncharacteristically rapid reaction that seems to belie his 30-plus years of experience as a NYC Cop.  One would be safe in the belief that this Commissioner who worked his way up the ranks during his career would at least provide some measure of a “benefit of the doubt” towards one of his Officer’s and allow due process of the internal Departmental investigation to begin.  That not having been the case, both O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio appear to have already acted as prosecutors, jurors, and judges in their rush to condemn Barry’s actions.  That they are both essentially politicians one can excuse some measure of loose talk but O’Neill who has only been in his current position since September appears to have already become a politician and has forgotten the real life dynamics of a situation such as that the responding Officers encountered last evening at 6:15 upon entering Danner’s apartment at 630 Pugsley Avenue.

Danner’s neighbors called the Police reporting that she was exhibiting very erratic behavior, ranting and raving in such a way that they were concerned for their safety.  The fact that her neighbors were well aware of her mental illness and what she could be like when “off her meds” speaks to the level of threat the responding Officers could face.  While the latest Department protocol instructs that an Emergency Services Unit (ESU) be summoned to an EDP call, Sgt. Barry and the other Officers found themselves in a very “time sensitive” situation.  As is often the case the scenario went from one of de-escalation as Danner dropped the scissors she was menacingly wielding only to pick up a wooden baseball bat and lunge at Sgt. Barry.  Was Barry expected to take a blow to the head from this EDP when every Officer knows that EDPs can exhibit unnatural aggression and strength?  There are many questions to be asked and answered and that renders Commissioner O’Neill’s statements and sanctions regarding Sgt. Barry that much more inflammatory and disheartening to the NYPD rank and file.  

What the Mayor’s and Commissioner’s comments and the subsequent virtually universally negative media coverage seems to imply is that Danner, even armed with scissors and then a baseball bat, could not have possibly presented as “serious threat” to the safety of Barry and the other Officers.  This perception is not only patently erroneous; it runs contrary to what every MOS knows all too well; any call involving an emotionally disturbed person (EDP) has the inherent potential of physical confrontation and violence. That is just a fact of policing.  This point is reiterated because it is essential for a civilian to try to grasp the dynamics between all those who found themselves in Danner’s apartment last night.

The EDP label is a broad classification that runs the spectrum from a person severely intoxicated or under the influence of some drug or another up through and including people with well-known and diagnosed mental health disorders which themselves have a wide range of pathologies as well as a myriad of variations and variables that affect the “state of mind” of the individual.  In many cases there is simply not time to gather information about the individual in question.  Circumstances create the actions and response as does the physical environment and absence or presence of others. 


The Patrol Guide of the NYPD, the official “Bible” of policy and procedure for MOS makes several references to a “Zone of Safety” that should be established and maintained in many scenarios and is clearly mentioned in the sections devoted to EDPs.  The zone of safety is a “minimum of 20 feet”.  What the Patrol Guide cannot do nor can any policy or procedure no matter how detailed and well trained Officers might be, is set in stone; the specifics of the call dictate the actions in response to that unique scenario.  There are far too many variables to consider in the “area of conflict/confrontation”, too many factors to consider.  Policing is far more an endeavor in improvisation rather than acted according to a well-defined script. 

A case in point, if one has never been in a typical NYCHA apartment or any of the common five-story walk-ups of the outer Boroughs, the size of these living spaces cannot be fully appreciated.  Most of these apartments are variations of the old “railroad flat” layout where one room leads to another in a linear manner just as train cars are connected.  These rooms are small.  In many floorplans the largest single space may be no greater that 12’x10’.  This is an incredibly small space within to operate in a police action particularly involving an armed and threatening EDP. 

Much has been made of the fact that Sgt. Barry was equipped with a Taser, a CEW (Conductive Electrical Weapon) which is technically not the same as a “Stun Gun”.  The Taser shoots two (or more) darts that remain connected to the handheld weapon through which an electrical charge can be delivered.  Tasers are notoriously ineffective when the darts are unable to make contact directly with the skin and often the darts themselves become dislodged as the individual continues to move.  In Danner’s apartment, the zone Barry was operating in was much smaller than 20 feet and, as such, the Taser was not an effective choice. 

The physical spaces that Officers typically find themselves working in are indoors; narrow, dimly lit corridors and stairwells, small, cramped apartments containing still narrower passageways and very limited means of egress.  If you grew up in an apartment in a five-story pre-war walk-up in Upper Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens, you are familiar with just how restrictive these spaces can be.  Restrictive spaces can simultaneously allow greater and restrict further the options Officers have at their disposal.  (Of course this discussion is addressing indoor locations; out on the streets zones of safety and the conflict/confrontation spaces are highly varied).


The simple reality of policing is that it is very often a “hands on” business.  While no two calls will ever be identical due to all the variables of the scenario, Officers acquire instincts, judgment and reactions via their experience.  The real training of MOS begins after they graduate from the Police Academy; it takes place on the streets and alleys, the open spaces and claustrophobic corridors and stairwells, subway platforms and amid all the elements of our complex urban environs.

One component of Police response that is often overlooked by uninformed outsiders, the always ready to pounce and denounce the Police media, hack politicians and bloviating “activists” is that of time.  Events can occur with amazing rapidity; a nanosecond of hesitation on the part of an Officer engaged in a dangerous interaction can result in injuries up to and including lethal damage to one or many of those in proximity to the engagement.  Yes, NYPD goes above and beyond instructed MOS in the latest “de-escalation” techniques and “best practices” but real-time policing can require split-second decision making.   

Whether enacting a “pat-down” search, making an arrest, subduing those involved in a usually volatile domestic disturbance, breaking up a street fight, or wading into the middle of some foray or another, Police Officers are often required to be physical; people in a fight, a suspect about to be placed in handcuffs, or any of the other regular activities inherent in Police intervention, perpetrators can be extremely aggressive in their resistance, to say the least.  The potential for the use of physical force is as much embedded in policing as are the hard won experiences an Officer will carry with him or her for the duration of their career and beyond.  Clearly most Officers would much rather intervene on a job without the use of physical force but, again, the circumstances can beg otherwise. 


Policing in our City is not for the faint of heart; we work within the sprawling five Boroughs of what is the most densely populated urban environment in the United States.  Actually given our 8.7 million plus residents, the volume of people who commute in to work and recreate, travelers passing through our train, bus and mass transit stations, and tourists, NYPD does a remarkable job day in, day out despite a lingering bad reputation our City notorious gained in the late 1960’s up until 1994.  Arguably it was the election of Mayor Rudy Giuliani that ushered in a new wave of policing practices, policies, and techniques.

After all those dark years as the crime capitol of the USA New York City is and has been the “Safest Big City” in America as measured by the DOJ statistics of all major crime categories and we have maintained this lofty title for the last 18 years.  No one among us can argue that NYC is not a safe place to live, work, or visit.  The credit goes without shadow of a doubt to the men and women of the NYPD.  When an Officer is vilified by the very Department he or she works for, the Mayor and the press, it is a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in.  The least the Department brass and City Hall can do is afford an Officer such as Sgt. Barry his Constitutional right to due process under the law.  When those of us who enforce the law become excluded for political reasons or any reason at all, it can instill in Officers a moment of hesitation during an engagement that could end is a tragic catastrophe.

Certainly the Department regrets that Ms. Danner put herself in a life-threatening position; no Cop ever wants to kill a person in the Line of Duty but, it does happen.  And no one except those present in that small apartment at 630 Pugsley Avenue really knows what went down and how it went down.

The Brooding Cynyx support Sgt. Hugh Barry and hope he is returned to full duty status as soon as the investigative process will allow.

Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2016 © All Rights Reserved
Copyright Brooding Cynyc 2016 © All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 30, 2016




(Sunday October 30, 2016, NYC) In an unprecedented extraordinarily controversial move FBI Director James Comey announced Friday morning that he was reopening the agency’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail affair after having concluded that “no charges” were warranted in the case in July.  Comey’s decision to make his intentions known by sending a letter explaining his rationale to ranking members of Congress is being seen as the most significant “October Surprise” since President Richard Nixon fired a Special Prosecutor looking into the facts that would ultimately come to be known as Watergate.

The motives behind Comey’s campaign rocking statement of intentions vary wildly depending on which side of the political spectrum one is aligned with.  Democrat’s that hailed Comey as a “true, steady, non-partisan” man of integrity in July are now excoriating him almost as Satan incarnate.  Likewise, Republicans that slammed him mercilessly now laud him as a “hero”.  With his well-known, widely heralded reputation as a man of honesty, unimpeachable non-partisanship, and high moral integrity one ought not be swayed in assuming Comey acted in bad faith in this development into what former FBI Assistant Director James Kallestrom the “crime family” known as Bill and Hillary Clinton and all their related enterprises from her tenure as Secretary of State, presidential campaign, (Bill and Hillary’s) their Clinton Foundation and self-enriching practices.

Perhaps Comey’s Irish Catholic conscience finally got the better of him and he may have realized in a moment of introspection that he and all the powers invested in him in his Office is all that stands between the real possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency; having an “unindicted criminal” in the Oval Office.  His history of integrity and honesty one might speculate would not allow him to “sit” on this new information that came to light in an unrelated FBI probe into the former husband of Hillary’s long-time closest aide and confidante Huma Abedin.  Abedin’s estranged spouse is none other than “Carlos Danger”, the moniker employed by disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner during his sexting exploits with a minor on-line.  The FBI is conducting an investigation into Weiner’s on-line activities which span at least the past five years.  Allegedly some e-mails between Abedin and Hillary while she was secretary of State and more recently as well as among others in the “Clinton political/financial/influence peddling orbit” were found on a computer Weiner shared with his former wife.  That the disgraced sexual predator Weiner may in fact be the last straw in Hillary’s decades long saga of ruthlessness political ambition and calculation, her well documented history as a pathological liar, and her scorched earth politicking is an ironic twist near the end of the most twisted presidential race in the 240-year history of our Democratic Republic.


In July Comey’ decision was seen as a capitulation to political pressures.  In just one odd twist of events that cast another shadow over the waning days of the investigation, Comey’s boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton for 40 minutes of discussing “grandchildren and golf(?)” when both of their airplanes just so happened to be idle on the same tarmac in Phoenix on June 27th. Just days after their “innocent” highly suspicious meeting that strained the limits of propriety if not believability Lynch announced that she would “defer” to the decision of the FBI insofar as leveling charges against anyone under investigation including Hillary Clinton.  Her decision effectively foreclosed the deal that would allow Hillary to dodge indictment.  Her announcement and Comey’s summary of findings created an “uproar” among career prosecutors in the DOJ as well as the FBI.

In his July 5th statement he called Mrs. Clinton’s handling of classified information by using a private internet server “extremely careless” and admitting that had any of his employees acted in a similar manner they would face a range of serious sanctions up to and including “dismissal” from the FBI.  The FBI has spent the last year conducting their investigation having interviewed the former Secretary of State on July 3rd.  His statement also included a damning “non-indictment” of Hillary Clinton’s blatant lies, destruction of evidence under subpoena, as well as damaging testimony from some of her closest aides and campaign operatives that proved they were aware of the legal hazards Clinton’s e-mail practices posed.  Consensus opinion in both the DOJ and FBI was that Hillary’s “reckless, irresponsible activities that ran contrary to all statutes of confidentiality and handling of information of a sensitive national security nature” warranted not only an indictment but a “full-fledged prosecution”.  But that was not to be the case and the Hillary juggernaut steaming towards her presidency rolled on unimpeded. 


Our presidential politics have a long history of potentially game changing revelations that have come to be known as an “October Surprise”.  Past campaigns have held back explosive items unearthed earlier while conducting “opposition research” in the hope that a last minute revelation will have the maximum effect inflicting fatal damage to their opponents White House ambitions.  Typically, these nuggets of past impropriety and scandal do not have the intended affect and seem to fade away as rapidly as they ignited.  Many political observers and academics have asserted that some of the allegations that Hillary’s opponent, Donald J. Trump, has behaved in a “sexually predatory manner” in the past and the parade of alleged victims of his crude, lude and lascivious alleged episodes have been viewed by many as the Clinton camp’s attempt of an October Surprise.  Clearly the fact that this ever increasing list of women alleged to have been so victimized, some claiming their victimhood occurred in the past up to 20 years ago seems on its face to be a non-too convenient series of disclosures intended to further damage Trump’s already high negative ratings among women voters and, in particular white college educated suburban women, a key demographic for both candidates and one that Hillary should naturally attract.  But that has not been the case.

Despite the potentially historic election of our first woman president, Hillary’s overall un-favorability rating coupled with the general public’s perception that she is “untrustworthy, dishonest, and will say anything to anyone audience” to be elected has this race at a virtual tie in the most recent national polls according to those conducted by the Wall Street Journal, CNN/ABC and other highly reputable pollsters.  It is beyond infuriating to Hillary and her cadre of surrogates that a man with no military service or history in public office, a billionaire Manhattan real estate developer and reality TV star, is actually neck and neck with the candidate touted as being “the most qualified person to ever run” for the presidency.  That in and of itself is a gross mischaracterization and unabashedly arrogant, inaccurate and in some ways telling representation of a woman whose past “successes” can all be attributed to the fact that she married a very gifted politician in Bill Clinton. Hillary’s ascendancy has been one of a bastardized nepotism, quid pro quo corrupt politicking and being the benefactor of the most powerful political machine in the last 50-plus years (possibly ever).

It is possible that this October Surprise may prove to be a decisive factor for those undecided voters wary of both candidates; those who perceive their ultimate choice as nothing more than the “lesser of two evils”. 

Hillary supporters can complain and grouse wildly and loudly but Hillary and her insulting, flippant lack of cooperation with the FBI, congenital absence of honesty, hubris, sense of entitlement and blatant disregard for federal laws and protocols has landed her in this mired position a scant 9 days from the election.  That the bizarre appearance as a factor in this long bruising campaign is Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner and Hillary’s soulmate Huma Abedin, is oddly appropriate.  She has dodged and ducked often artfully a myriad of scandals and malfeasance's, abuses of her various Offices and their vested powers to such unmitigated depths of criminality and corruption, that it is high time she exit from public life.

Some in the media claim there is a degree of “Clinton Fatigue” among the electorate.  That has been proven to be a true assessment of a wide swathe of the public’s opinion.  They are simply tired of her and her cronies; they’ve grown weary of her face and voice, her lame excuses for past wrongs and shallow appeals and pandering for their votes.  Yes, much of America has already decided the we have had quite enough of Hillary Clinton.  The only way to permanently excise her from our national consciousness, prevent her hands to be on the official levers of power that are bestowed upon a President of the United States, and remove her from our lives is to vote for Donald J. Trump.



Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2016 © All Rights Reserved
Copyright Brooding Cynyc 2016 © All Rights Reserved