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Columbia Psychologist Questions Police Shooting of Son

Dr. Joyce Hamilton Berry of Columbia questions the police's account of the shooting death of her son Daryl Berry at hands of Pennsylvania state trooper.

Dr. Joyce Hamilton Berry’s son, Daryl Berry, was shot three times and killed by a Pennsylvania state trooper on a rural stretch of the Pennsylvania turnpike on March 6.

The police say Daryl Berry, 45, had gotten into an accident and was arguing with another driver when the trooper arrived, according to reports in Pennsylvania newspapers.

Berry allegedly set his two Rottweiler dogs after the trooper. As the trooper fought off the dogs, Berry attacked the officer, striking him in the face with a metal flashlight, according to police. The trooper then shot Berry three times and killed him. The dogs were not injured. The officer was released from the hospital the same night.

But Daryl’s mother, who lives on Windharp Way in Columbia and was the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Kentucky with a Ph.D., told Patch in an interview she was left with a number of questions after her son’s death.

She said the Pennsylvania State Police have not provided her with information she requested, including the police report.

She said police told her the trooper’s dashboard video camera was malfunctioning when the shooting occurred. She said she was told it would not have recorded the incident anyway because it took place behind the officer’s car. She said the name of the officer who shot her son has been withheld.

“I want to know what happened to my son,” said Dr. Berry, who has raised three children while maintaining a clinical psychology practice. “I want to know the circumstances. I want to know the truth.”

At the time of his death, Daryl was driving to his home in Cincinnati, where he owned a landscaping and handyman business. Daryl grew up in Columbia and later attended Tuskegee University. He received a degree in electrical engineering. He was not married and had no children.

Dr. Berry said her son didn’t have a criminal record and she couldn’t remember him ever being in a fight. She said her son didn’t train his dogs to be aggressive and described one of them as being like Marmaduke, the genial Great Dane from the comic strip.

“Daryl was very unassuming,” said Dr. Berry, “He thought all people were basically good, not malicious.”

Patch last week filed public information requests for police reports related to Berry’s death, as well as requests for 911 dispatches and witness statements. Police said Thursday it would take an extra 30 days to fill the request.

Calls to Pennsylvania state police public information officers were not returned.

Charles Saunders, a lawyer who is assisting Dr. Berry, said he talked to the trooper leading the state police’s investigation into the shooting but has not received additional information.

Dr. Berry is also working with a private investigator in Pennsylvania.

“I’m going to have to subpoena" to get more information, she said. “What I do when I get the information, I don’t know.”

She said pursuing the case could take its toll.

“You have to keep reliving it,” she said. “Working with patients, I know that when it comes time for trial they regress to where they initially were when they started grieving. But, I want to know why he was murdered.

“Daryl was not a violent person, I don’t believe he attacked the policeman. I think there are a lot of loose ends,” she said.

At her home this week, Dr. Berry’s eyes glimmered as a friend described memories from Daryl’s childhood. Nearby, a framed collage containing pictures of Daryl was leaning against a wall. In one, he’s smiling with his arms slung around his two dogs.

D. Dowdye April 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM
In America, Doctor Berry should have a right to know how her son died. The longer Pennsylvania authorities hide case-related facts, the more their actions that night look suspicious. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court is making it easier for law enforcement officials to do whatever they want whenever they want.
Malcolm Favor April 04, 2012 at 05:37 PM
The loose ends seem too convenient. It's possible that the squad car's camera may have been malfunctioning, but officers generally park behind people in traffic related incidents. There is a plethora of information being witheld, which adds to the shadyness surrounding the police department's role in this.
B. G. Billups April 05, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I too carry a flashlight in my car for the exact same reason should I have to get out of my car at night to inspect the damage from an accident on the road at night we travel with the family dogs all the time it is not a reason to kill a person. I am so deeply touched and saddened by this incident.
Terry Dowdye April 10, 2012 at 04:34 AM
What is the other driver saying about this incident? Why does the mother not have access to the police report? Why were the dogs not shot? Where did she get this account of the events? Why would someone attack a cop with a flashlight while his dogs were attacking? None of this makes sense. The police are hiding something. Too often cases like this are covered up by law enforcement. Those that have the right to use deadly force and those that dont, such as George Zimmerman use it unjustly and the end result is usually a dead black man. I hope the motheruncovers the truth and those responsible for murdering her son are brought to justice. T.Dowdye
Carla Hunt April 10, 2012 at 06:13 PM
its only been 3-4 days. the woman needs to b patient.

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