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NY City mayor criticizes police in fatal shooting of disturbed woman

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The death of a 66-year-old emotionally disturbed black woman who was shot after allegedly swinging a baseball bat at a police sergeant inside her New York apartment “didn’t have to happen,” the city’s mayor said on Wednesday.

“It’s quite clear that our officers are supposed to use deadly force only when faced with a dire situation,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. “It’s hard for any of us to see if that standard was met here.”

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The fatal shooting of Deborah Danner follows a string of incidents that have put law enforcement across the United States under heightened scrutiny over the use of lethal force, especially against minorities and the mentally ill.

Officers received an emergency call at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday from a neighbor who said Danner was acting irrationally, police said. When police Sergeant Hugh Barry entered her apartment in the city’s Bronx borough he found Danner clutching scissors in a bedroom, police said.

Barry convinced Danner to put the scissors down, but she then picked up a baseball bat and charged at him, police said. Danner tried to strike the sergeant and he fired two shots from his service revolver, striking her in the torso, police said.

The mayor told a news conference he spoke to Danner’s sister and caretaker, Jennifer Danner, and that she told him police had been called to the apartment before without any problems.

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“She was standing there in that hallway, ready to go the hospital,” de Blasio said, referring to the sister. “She told me she did not in any way expect to hear gunshots ring out.”

De Blasio said Barry, who is white and is an eight-year veteran of the New York Police Department, had received some training under a new department program that includes de-escalation techniques. Barry has been placed on modified duty, he said.

The police department is investigating and will examine why the sergeant did not use a Taser instead of opening fire.

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A representative for the police union could not be reached immediately for comment. And it could not be determined immediately if Barry has retained legal counsel.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill called the incident “distressing” and said that the NYPD’s procedures for handling emotionally disturbed people had not been followed.

The Bronx Borough president, Ruben Diaz Jr, a former state lawmaker, called the shooting an “outrage.”

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“This elderly woman was known to the police department, yet the officer involved in this shooting failed to use discretion to either talk her down from her episode or, barring that, to use his stun gun,” Diaz said in a statement. “That is totally unacceptable.”

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Leslie Adler)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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GOP facing nightmare scenario as rural America gets hit with a depopulation crisis

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The Republican Party is entrenched in rural America with the overwhelming majority of small towns being represented by the GOP. But the population in these areas are under a huge decline.

That's a nightmare scenario for Republicans in Congress, whose districts are determined by population. The Republican Party has worked diligently to ensure gerrymandering can protect their rural members as the population shifts toward the suburbs.

One key component of the Affordable Care Act went to subsidizing rural hospitals to prevent them from closing. Most of that has been defunded by Republicans if the states were even willing to allow Medicare/Medicaid expansion in the state, to begin with. A Navigant report out earlier this year showed that more than one in five rural hospitals have closed so far.

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Saudi doctor yanked from flight after woman freaks out over his ‘see you on the other side’ remark

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A Muslim doctor was removed from an American Airlines flight out of Florida after a woman misunderstood a remark he made to his wife in a phone call.

Abdulaziz Al Mana, a medical resident at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, was flying in June to Washington, D.C., to visit his wife when he noticed the woman seated next to him acting nervously as the plane taxied onto the runway, reported the Miami New Times.

The woman slipped a note to a flight attendant, and the captain then announced the plane would be turned around for a passenger emergency.

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‘Pro-life’ Christians reveal they really don’t care about fetuses — they just want to control women’s bodies: survey

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According to a new poll, anti-abortion advocates also tend to hold views that are hostile to gender equality. The Guardian’s Jill Filipovic says the results show that the anti-abortion movement is more concerned with controlling women’s bodies than they are about the “sanctity of life.”

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