Henry Family Disappointed, Not Surprised By Grand Jury Verdict

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

EASTON (CBS) – The family of 20-year-old DJ Henry says they are more determined than ever to seek justice for their son and brother, now that a New York grand jury has failed to indict the police officers involved in the incident that led to his shooting death.

“We are seeking a conviction,” said his father Danroy Henry, Sr. who calls this a case of murder.

DJ Henry, a Pace University student, was shot by police as he tried to drive away in the chaos outside a New York bar in the early morning hours of October 17, 2010. Officer Aaron Hess claimed Henry was accelerating toward him and struck him when he ended up on the hood of the car and reached for his gun.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

“For whatever reason, Aaron Hess decided to shot this boy. Why? Why? He wasn’t fleeing from a crime, he hadn’t committed a crime,” said Danroy Henry.

All along the Henry family has questioned the use of deadly force, and a police department investigating its own. The outcome, they said, was expected.

“This was an attempt to improve the optics, and make it look as if the district attorney did everything possible to prosecute the case,” he said.

The family is charging that evidence was withheld from the grand jury, which they believe would have been enough to lead to a murder indictment against office Hess.

“Could we walk around with a gun and kill someone because we feel threatened? An unarmed person? Is that ok?,” asked DJ’s mother Angella Henry.

The Westchester County district attorney said 85 witnesses were interviewed, including the officers who fired the shots.

The Henry family is now seeking a federal indictment and the US Attorney-Southern District of New York says it will review all the available evidence in the case and determine if there were any federal civil rights violations.

The family is also pursuing a $120-million civil suit against the police departments involved.

More from Beth Germano
  • jon c.

    I feel for the family. They lost a son. But the mother kept saying the kid was unarmed! No actually the car itself is the weapon! The cop waited till he was struck by the car before defending himself! In todays day and age who knew what the kids intent was. I know if I was in the same situation I would have waited till the police said that I could go. Who in their right mind drives straight at a police officer! Now the police officer has to deal with that for the rest of his life! With what I know about the situation the police officer waited as long as he could before defending himself! Who knows who the kid would have hit if he wasn’t stopped! Waiting until he was already on the hood after being struck! That’s self restraint! Im sorry for the family but I commend the officer for doing his duty.

    • Cynic

      The Police don’t always tell the truth.

  • Sp

    How can people blame a police officer for shooting into a vehicle when he is being run over? This is not murder. There is no cover up. He was defending his life from an intoxicated fool who overeacted. If I were on the hood of a car. I would have shot at the driver as well. The family is going to make this a black white thing so they can get money and the media is feeding into it. The Mother of the deceased is questioning why the cop had any reason to feel threatened. Let me drive a three thousand pound vehicle at you and you can tell me if you feel threatened. The blame lies on the dead driver making a poor decision to drive at a cop who was there to stop other drunk fools from killing each other.

    • Open Minded

      Unless you were there or have lost a child to violence I don’t see how you make such an assumption. Police, believe it or not are guilty quite often of crimes themselves. Do not let the fact that they are a minority bias your opinion. You were not a witness. to what happened. If so, step forward the family would appreciate it.

      • blackbear1

        You are showing that you are far less than Open Minded and possess an anti police mentality. Have you ever faced a crowd of drunken college students and then attempt to get their version of the events? No you haven’t!!! This poor family is in denial and needs grief counseling.

    • Cynic

      The Police don’t always tell the truth.

    • Cynic

      How many other Cops were there that did not find it necessary to use their Weapon?

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/02/15/justice-department-to-review-d-j-henrys-death/ Justice Department To Review D.J. Henry’s Death « CBS Boston

    […] announcement came late Monday night, hours after a grand jury in Westchester County, New York did not indict any police officers in the […]

  • Benjamin

    Grand Juries.
    The Rubber Stamps of DA’s throughout the land.
    That’s one step that should be eliminated completely.

  • Benjamin

    The possibility is that this cop actually stepped in front of the car not giving the driver time to stop.
    As I recall, some earlier stories claimed that some of the officers were trying to open the car’s doors while the car was in motion.
    This would be a typical move in U.S. city level law enforcement that does not allow common sense to get license plates of suspects and a latter peaceful arrest.
    Some city cops watch too much television.
    And yes, I spent 21 years and 3 months in criminal justice, (not at the city level, state level) and know what I am talking about.

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