Press Conference Transcript

Ed Mullins:

"First of all good morning to all of you. And I’d like to thank all of you for being here today to listen to what I believe is a very important message to the American law enforcement officers across this nation and for members of the NYPD. But most importantly thanks for being here on this day and not the plan that there’d be a press conference tomorrow."

What’s taking place right now is unprecedented. We have police representation from around the country. We have the Dade-Miami PBA; Milwaukee Police Supervisors; New Jersey State Police; Federal Law Enforcement Officers; San Francisco; San Jose; Omaha; Oklahoma City; Los Angeles; Harrison, NY PBA; Yonkers PBA; Eastchester PBA; New York State Troopers; New Jersey FOP; and last but not least, members of the NYPD - the Detectives Endowment Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, and the Captains Endowment Association.

Why we are calling for a press conference today is law enforcement across the nation has had enough. We’ve had enough of weak politicians, of weak leadership that run for departments’ chiefs, commissioners; and the breaking point occurred right here in this city, last October in the Bronx with Sgt. Hugh Barry, when he fatally shot Deborah Danner. In that particular case Deborah Danner was an emotionally disturbed person who was passed through the mental health system here in the city of New York. She has a long history of mental illness. Police were charged with correcting the issues that affected Deborah Danner. What occurred in that apartment that day sent the chilling affect across this country. Deborah Danner put a scissor to his throat. After ten minutes of talking to her, she surrendered the scissors and was about to leave the apartment. Sgt. Barry did exactly what he is trained to do. He followed procedure. Deborah Danner suddenly took a baseball bat and swung at Sgt. Barry’s head. It is a deadly weapon. He fired shots, and unfortunately Deborah Danner passed away.

This is part of the training of the NYPD, using the target here that exemplifies what we are trained to shoot at. This is presented on tests. The “deadly physical force” in the NYPD highlights specifically this type of example. What has transpired has sent a chilling message to law enforcement across the country.

In the words of Police Commissioner O’Neill, "We failed." He has tainted the city. He has tainted the jury. And no, Commissioner, we did not fail. YOU failed. You failed to tell the Mayor the truth of what occurred in that apartment. You failed to tell the people in the City of New York what was right. Most importantly, you failed the members of the NYPD, and you failed Sgt. Barry and his family. You simply failed to lead at a time of crisis.

Mayor de Blasio in the following 48 hours went on a tear in the media, terrorizing Sgt. Barry and his family on what occurred inside Deborah Danner’s apartment. Little did he know what really occurred in that apartment. But this is typical of this mayor, who just recently witnessed the execution of a police officer here in the Bronx. The following day, what does this mayor do? He leaves his country to join protesters in the country of Germany, where 200 more police officers were injured. In the last four years we’ve had six police officers killed in this city, numerous others shot.

It stops today.

This group that has formed will travel throughout this country to defend police officers, to speak the truth about what’s occurring in different jurisdictions around the country, and to stand up for what’s right. Police officers in the country, every day, go to work to do what’s right. And we’re the good guys. And that message has to be clear across the nation and throughout the media. And we need your help, and the silent majority of America, to stand alongside American police officers and deliver that message.

I’m now going to turn over the mike to President of the Oklahoma City PBA, John George.”

John George:

“Good morning. My name is John George. I’m the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police President. We represent over 1600 officers from the heart of America. What’s happening to Sgt. Barry is a travesty and I’m here with my brothers and sisters in law enforcement to stand with Sgt. Barry to send a message - that we will no longer sit idly by and allow the anti-cop protesters to lie about the American police officers anymore. The indictment of Sgt. Barry who was doing his job should be called exactly what it is: political prosecution.

Recently close to home, Officer Betty Shelby was found not guilty after over-zealous prosecution in Tulsa, OK. Luckily in that case justice prevailed and she was acquitted. Politicizing the prosecution of cops for doing their job, following their training is wrong is dangerous for the safety of our officers and our citizens.

Another problem we face across this country is we have a growing mental health population that’s not being served correctly. Over the last four years just in Oklahoma City alone our calls for mental health crises went up 88%. In Oklahoma City we respond to 1300 mental health/attempted suicides every month. There’s a mental health crisis in this country and its endangering our citizens and its endangering our officers.

The Oklahoma City Police Department has prioritized crisis intervention training, but there are hundreds of departments in Oklahoma and across this country without access to this training.

Most importantly today we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in law enforcement to say that there will be a voice that has your back, that says stay safe and go home to your families, and that we will call out cowardly politicians, district attorneys, and police leaders for pointing their fingers at cops when a mental health crisis goes bad instead of looking in a mirror and taking responsibility for their own inaction.

Thank you. It’s an honor to be here today. Next will be Jamie McBride from the Los Angeles Police Protective League.”

Jamie McBride:

“I’m Jamie McBride. I’m a Los Angeles Detective and Director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. As a police officer, you can choose to save your job or save your life, but you can’t do both. That’s the false choice too many politicians in this country have given members of law enforcement. In New York, some politicians are now saying choose your life or your freedom, but you definitely can’t have both.

New York’s Mayor, the Police Commissioner and the Bronx District Attorney have joined a war on police officers. The unjust prosecution of Sgt. Barry is disgusting. The scapegoating of police officers for the failing mental health system ends today.

Sgt. Barry did his job. He responded to a 911 call. He deescalated a situation with an armed suspect who was acting in a violent manner. After he was attacked with the deadly weapon he was forced to use his training to protect himself, to protect his partner and the community. He did his job.

Why politicians were quick to point their finger at a police officer who did what he was trained to do, they have turned a blind eye to a problem that was right in front of their face. America’s cities and towns face a mental health crisis, for they have made police officers the first responders to a broken system. Our national mental health crisis is a social problem, not a police problem.

Our local elected leaders must increase funding to treat the mentally ill so the tragedies such as this have the opportunity to be avoided. But let me clear. If you swing a baseball bat at the head of an American police officer, we will use the training and whatever’s necessary to protect ourselves, our partners and our community so we can go home to our families. We must stop sending police officers blindly into violent situations. We have to be able to access the data letting us know that if someone calls 911, that if police have responded there in the past, we know that someone in the past had a mental health issue and if they were violent.

It’s time to hold politicians accountable for the inactions that are putting police officers and the public in harm’s way. Mayor de Blasio, you should be ashamed for what you have done and what you are doing to Sgt. Barry. Ashamed.

Next, I’d like to introduce Paul Kelly, the President of San Jose Police Officers Association.”

Paul Kelly:

“My name is Paul Kelly. I’m a San Jose Police Sergeant and the President of the San Jose Police Officers Association. Mayor de Blasio – shame. Police Commissioner O’Neill – shame. District Attorney Clark – shame. Shame on all of you who tried to destroy the life and the freedom of a police officer and using Sgt. Hugh Barry as a pawn in your political games. Shame on you for lacking the courage to stand up against the professional protesters and the anti-police rhetoric that has gripped our nation. And shame on you for allowing a failing mental health system be the cause of much tragedy, whether it be Sgt. Barry who was forced to protect himself and others against a violent mentally disturbed person, or New York Police Officer Familia who paid the ultimate price for doing her job, gunned down at the hand of a mentally ill killer.

Your cowardly inaction jeopardizes lives and you should be ashamed of yourselves. You have failed in your responsibility to act in providing services and programs to a growing mental health population. Yet you’ve been quick to attack police officers, threaten the freedom of a dedicated public servant because of your failures. You’ve decided to make Sgt. Barry suffer, to make his family suffer, because you lack backbones to be a truth-teller and take personal responsibility for what you have made.

We ask you District Attorney Clark, when is it ok for a police officer to protect himself? After your head is crushed by a baseball bat? We will no longer sit quietly while politicians and appointed officials blaming police officers for their failings. You’re first to send us into harm’s way. You’re first to ask us to solve all of your social problems. And you’re first to throw us under the bus. Enough.

In San Jose we know this type of pain all too well. Two years ago San Jose Police Officer Michael Johnson was murdered while responding to a 911 call from a family unable to deal with one of their members with a mental illness. Two years ago in San Jose; one year ago in Dallas; Baton Rouge; two weeks ago here in New York City, police officers doing their job murdered by the mentally ill. But nothing changes.

It’s time for our elected leaders to ensure that our residents dealing with mental health issues get the treatment they need to keep themselves safe, their neighbors safe, and officers safe. It’s time to ensure that every American law enforcement officer in the country is equipped to deal with emergency calls where they encounter a violent mentally ill individual. It’s time for our local and appointed officials to stand behind police officers when they do the right thing, when they do what you trained them to do.

Thank you.”