Why I Can’t F**king Breathe: The Murder of Deborah Danner

Deborah Danner suffered from mental illness, and lived alone. Reports state, police had been called to her apartment in the past and she was taken to the hospital without incident. What made this time different? On the night of her death, Danner’s sister called for help to take her to the hospital as she had in the past. Sadly, she will have to live with this memory for the rest of her life. The very act of calling for help for her sister, resulted in her death, at the hands of an officer sworn to protect.

She was murdered in Castle Hill. NYPD said, officers responded to a 911 call. Deborah Danner age 66 was said to be behaving irrationally. Allegedly she was armed with scissors,  a responding officer convinced her to put them down before allegedly picking up a baseball bat, and attempting to hit NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry, who fired two shots into her torso. She was taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead. Sgt. Barry had a taser, he chose not to use it. He was trained to physically subdue an individual without drawing his weapon. Instead, he ignored his training on how to de-escalate situations, Deborah Danner paid the price. This fact alone is reason enough to bring him up on charges.

Bronx resident Deborah Danner was murdered by Sgt. Hugh Barry, let us not skirt around the facts. Fact, had Bronx resident Deborah Danner been white and lived in a white neighborhood her life would have been spared. She would have been treated with the utmost care, gently subdued and escorted to the hospital. Sgt. Barry did not see a human being standing before him. He saw an upset Black woman and that was enough to end her life. He did not see his mother, aunt, or neighbor in her Black face. He did not see humanity in need of help and compassion.

When I read of her death I was overcome with feelings of sadness, anger and horror. Deborah Danner was one year my senior, I could have been her. I thought of my death. The  words mental illness and the circumstances of her murder exacerbated my horror. The 1984 murder of Eleanor Bumpers, a grandmother with mental illness came rushing back to memory. Here is one more case of murder added to an already existing list of traumatic experiences. I demand justice for Deborah Danner! I’m sick and tired of
the usual investigations, the modified desk duty, blaming of the deceased and the NYPD sanctioning of murder.  NYPD is drowning in the blood of innocent murdered civilians. Every time a murder is justified and the murderer set free, we are all at risk. The prevailing mindset by those who murder is we can kill without impunity. Daily Blacks and people of color are assaulted with traumatic event after traumatic event. Brutality, murder and assaults to our humanity and bodies are America’s norm for those of dark hue.

We hear a lot about PTSD. What is  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the result of being traumatized. An individual (s) has/have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. Police brutality and murders of civilians, the death of a loved one, pet and experiences as a veteran contribute to PTSD criteria.

Are you finding it difficult to cope? Sometimes, a good talk with a friend, family member or clergy is enough. Other times it is not enough and you may have to contact a professional.  Here are some available resources. Please visit the links below.

Mental Health & Advocacy for information, resources, data etc. on mental health disorders.
http://lcinformationandresourcecenter.wordpress.com

Protective Service for Adults Program in NYC
http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/psa/

#JusticeforDeborahDanner #BlackLivesMatter #StopMurderingBlackPeople

©Lorraine Currelley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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Ngoma’s Not Your Average String Thing

12654304_124513931265131_8021431466017120202_nOn Thursday August 6, 2015 Barrio Poetic featured poet Ngoma Hill is a dynamic wordsmith and musicologist. His performance was passionate, his words explosions of truth. Words and music tearing through and breaking down strangling societal isms and ills. Turning our collective anger,  and outrage into haunting passionate poems and songs of protest. All responding eloquently to the cries of the people for justice, equality, peace, and life. His musicology is  superb. “Ngoma’s Not Your Average String Thing -Vocals, Bamboo Flute, Electrik Violin, Acoustic Guitar, Yidaki (Didgeridoo) & Garage Band Tracks. Ngoma Hill performed works from his CD Lessons from the Book of Osayemi and his latest CD release Ngoma Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy. Ngoma Hill’s performance ended with a standing ovation from audience members.

Ngoma,  a former member of the SPIRIT HOUSE MOVERS AND PLAYERS with Amiri Baraka and the Contemporary Freedom Song Duo, SERIOUS BIZNESS, Ngoma weaves poetry and song that raises contradictions and searches for a solution for a just and peaceful world. Ngoma was the Prop Slam winner of the 1997 National Poetry Slam Competition in Middletown, CT and was published in AFRICAN VOICES MAGAZINE, LONG SHOT ANTHOLOGY, THE UNDERWOOD REVIEW, SIGNIFYIN’ HARLEM REVIEW,BUM RUSH THE PAGE/DEF POETRY JAM ANTHOLOGY and POEMS ON THE ROAD TO PEACE (Volumes 1,2 & 3)-Yale Press. LET LOOSE ON THE WORLD”(CELEBRATING AMIRI BARAKA at 75) He was most recently published in the 35th Anniversary Issue of Blind Beggar Press and The Understanding Between Foxes and Light. He was also featured in the PBS Spoken Word Documentary, “The Apro-Poets” with Allen Ginsberg. Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice Festival (Yale University-New Haven, CT) for the past 18 years. Ngoma was selected as a participant at the Badilisha Poetry Xchange in Capetown, South Africa in fall of 2009.In December of 2011 he was initiated as a Priest of  Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice Festival (Yale University-New Haven, CT) for the past 18 years. Ngoma was selected as a participant at the Badilisha Poetry Xchange in Capetown, South Africa in fall of 2009.In December of 2011 he was initiated as a Priest of Obatala in Ibadan, Nigeria. More recently he returned to Ibadan to be initiated as a Priest of Ifa. – http://www.Ngomazworld.com

Hill’s latest release Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy continues his legacy of producing great music and poetry. Music for My Soldiers, Love Song, Where I Come From and Up South are four of the outstanding poems on Ngoma Hill’s  latest release. The authenticity of his poems content resonate with his audiences. There are no lies here, only truth telling. His poems and music is earth and soul grown. His words are love notes to listeners, those seeking truth. There is the presence of unrelenting hunger, thirst and raw passion. His poems had audience members moving and clapping in their seats, leading to a call and response. We became a chorus united in the refrain music for my soldiers, when he performed Music for My Soldiers. Where I Come From, another of Ngoma Hill’s poems is one man’s declaration of his rich heritage and that of a people. All poems are life explosions unabashedly unapologetic and uncompromising.

You can purchase both Lessons from the Book of Osayemi and Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy @

iTunes,Amazon and Bandcamp

©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author is strictly prohibited.