No Charges Against Police In DJ Henry Death

By Jim Fitzgerald, Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) – A grand jury determined Monday that a police officer did not commit a crime when he shot and killed a college football player through the windshield of the student’s car.

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said jurors found “no reasonable cause for an indictment” in the death of 20-year-old Danroy “D.J.” Henry Jr., of Easton, Mass.

WBZ-TV’s Jack Williams reports.

Henry’s father, Danroy Henry Sr., who had demanded a murder indictment, alleged that evidence was “withheld or mishandled” during the grand jury proceedings. He repeated his call for a federal investigation and said, “There are no words to express our disappointment.”

D.J. Henry, a Pace University student, was killed Oct. 17 when officers fired at his car as he drove away from a bar in Thornwood, just north of New York City.

Police had been called to a disturbance that spilled out of the bar after the Pace homecoming game.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports.

Henry, who had been in the bar earlier, was parked in his Nissan in a fire lane when a policeman knocked on the driver’s-side window. Autopsy results showed an alcohol level in Henry’s blood that exceeded the legal limit for driving, but his family said an analysis of stomach contents showed he was not drunk.

Police said Henry sped off; his family said he moved away at parking lot speed, believing the officer was instructing him to move.

Henry’s car hit Officer Aaron Hess, of the Pleasantville police force, and Hess ended up on the hood of the Nissan, firing through the windshield.

Through his lawyer, John K. Grant, Hess has acknowledged that he shot at Henry. He said he was in fear for his life and had no choice. A call Monday to Grant was not immediately returned.

Henry’s parents said they felt Hess should be charged with murder. Henry family lawyer Michael Sussman said the shooting was “nothing short of intentional murder.”

“We will not stop until Mr. Hess is held accountable for the killing of our beloved D.J.” Danroy Henry said.

Another officer, Ronald Beckley, of the Mount Pleasant force, also shot at the car but apparently hit the hood.

The Henrys and Sussman said soon after the shooting that the case should have been investigated by a state or federal prosecutor rather than the local district attorney because DiFiore works closely with the police departments involved. The Department of Justice said it would monitor the case. But the Henrys eventually urged cooperation with the grand jury, and Danroy Henry Sr. testified on Jan. 28. Afterward, he said, “I’m having now to talk about how my son died and not about how he lived, and that’s what’s really difficult about it.”

He and his wife, Angella Henry, appeared on national television several times, insisting they wanted only “the absolute truth.”

D.J. Henry was black; the police officers involved were white. Henry’s parents refused to blame the shooting on racial prejudice, saying they did not know what was in Hess’ heart.

DiFiore said Hess and Beckley testified “without the protection of immunity from prosecution.” She said 85 witnesses, including many Pace students who were at the shopping center, testified during the month-long grand jury session.

In the chaos that followed the shooting, which was widely seen from amateur video, four of Henry’s classmates were arrested on various charges including obstruction. Those charges are pending. Their lawyer alleged that they were only trying to help Henry after he was taken from his car and handcuffed as he lay wounded.

Mount Pleasant police Chief Louis Alagno said the handcuffs were removed as soon as officers realized Henry was gravely wounded.

The Henry family is planning a $120 million lawsuit against Pleasantville and Mount Pleasant. Danroy Henry Sr. said Monday that the grand jury’s finding was “not designed to tell the truth but rather to minimize the civil and criminal liability of agencies involved.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • greg

    hahaha AWESOME

  • Cynic

    This is not surprizing…There are NEVER Charges when the Police investigate the Police.There is still the possibility of Federal Civil rights charges,and then the least desirable option a Civil Suit.

    • mark

      Don’t you say anything about civil rights? Why would you say that???
      Let me guess?? Owe I got it because he is black. If he was white would you be saying that? It works both ways!!!!!!! Let’s just see how it works out!!!!!

      • Cynic

        Mark…I’m talking about the “Civil Right” not to be killed by the Police Cowboy no matter who you are.

  • paul

    $120 Million…lawyers get 40%…cost could be $5MM (including “expert witnesses)…they get $72MM….(they will need $65MM to bribe 12 jurors and one judge)…..leaves them with $7MM….Priceless!!!

    • Cynic

      Obviously not a Math Major.

  • swizzle

    hes black and the NYC cops love shooting blacks, did you expect to see charges? lmao!

  • Kas

    black, white, yellow, purple or candy striped.

    When you make the call to make a police officer a hood ornament,
    you should expect them to react

    I was not there, you were not there. In lieu of that, I choose to believe
    sworn officers and their statements over that of an angry mob outside
    a nightclub

  • Cynic

    Did Mr. Henry “Drive At The Police” or did the Vehicle move forward with a dying man at the wheel. This to me is the most important question in the incident. In any event The Police involved are not the best suited at determine what THEY did or didn’t do. Of course they are aware that not only they have to take care of their own, they are certainly not going to leave their city open to a Wrongful death action.

    • Cali

      He hit the officer with the car. Officer was thrown on hood of ca.r. The car continued driving with the injured officer on hood. Officer on hood drew gun, but DJ continued driving so officer fired. Officer on hood was injured from the impact requiring 4 hour surgery to repair the damage.

      • Cynic

        Cali… “Thrown” on the hood of the car or Stupidly Jumped on the hood of the car?

      • bert

        strongly agree if it was the other way around they will be justifying the shooting thats how black people are i hope they stop getting away with all this nonsense lawsuits and stop playing the victim card put respect on your children and teach them right from wrong and things like this wont be happenning stop thinking when the majority of the black people are criminals that they are innocent victims and that they need to be awarded money all this nonsense needs to stop if your child is wrong he is wrong and here he was wrong and the officers life was in danger i would of done the same thing he should be rewarded for taking another loser off the streets plain and simple im tired of reading this nonsense by this race unbelievable.

  • Cynic

    One quick thought then I have to go watch My Fair Lady…..The Grand Jury does what the District Attorney wants it to do.

    • blackbear1

      How do you know that? Have you ever faced a crowd of college kids who have been drinking?? You are assuming way too much. Probably just what you are accusing others of. I’ve heard some of the statements from the family on TV. I feel terrible for them, but they could be in denial. Go watch My Fair Lady.

    • Don


      Seems like Bert misses Ernie.

  • Pardon the interuption

    I’m sure the cop didn’t climb onto the hood for a ride. The grand jury made the correct decision. Case closed.

    • Don


      ‘Case closed?’ This is only the beginning. Cases are usually closed when all of the facts have been found. Not even close here.

  • Elliott in California

    It figures. Between the NYPD and their so called “internal investigation” I could have bet a million dollars that there would be no charges! Just another injustice that NYPD covers up and pretends it never happened. Look at the history and you can see I am correct. They are corrupt as they have ever been with dirty cops, dirty investigators and loads of B.S., that they feed the public and they buy it! How about a civil lawsuit and a call for investigation the NYPD, that is what needs to happen!

    • blackbear1

      It is not the NYPD, but another dept. outside the city. This decision you are “reading” (not very well) was by a grand jury..
      Elliot, in California, not only do you not know how to tell time, but you don’t read very well.
      Stop making anti police statements!! you are pretty easy to figure out.

      • Don


        And you are so objective, right?

  • adsasda

    Wait a minute…

    So you’re telling me that the police investigated themselves and found themselves NOT guilty?! AM I HEARING THIS RIGHT?!


  • Henry Family Disappointed, Not Surprised By Grand Jury Verdict « CBS Boston

    […] 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 …. […]

  • Cali

    DJ Henry made many mistakes that night that led to his own death. His family needs to come to terms with the fact that their son was not perfect and played a critical role in the events of that night. I hope they get some counseling so that they can begin to grieve in a HEALTHY way. The Henry’s will not find peace until they accept that their son was not perfect that night and contributed to the events leading up to the fatal shot.

    • Don


      So it’s ‘unhealthy’ to desire justice and the truth about their son’s death?

    • Don


      Anyone can be accused of being imperfect. However, the investigation is about police responding properly and not about DJ’s perfection.

  • justice

    #1 I’m a pace student….and was there on the scene. The cop jumped in the way of his car, then voluntarily jumped on the hood….shot DJ then his foot hit the pedal and accelerated. Not only was he dragged out of the car with three bullets in his chest…..but then he was handcuffed while gasping for air and received no medical attention. Saw it with my own 2 eyes from about 40 ft away. It was WRONG and INHUMANE. 99.9% of pleasantville cops dont draw their guns through a 20+ yr career….clearly they dont know how to handle themselves. So all of you who dont know facts….don’t state your opinion please. No matter what happens he’s not coming back but the least that could happen would be for those cops to take responsibility for life ending decisions.

    • Don


      But don’t you know? You’re just a drunken college student who can’t possibly be a reliable witness. Your facts are what the Feds will bring to light and provide the Henry family w/ what they really want to know. As you said, DJ can’t come back but at least there will be honest reasons revealed as to why he won’t, whether the Henrys get a dime or not.

      But you know how it is w/ most of these bloggers. Don’t let facts get in the way of old-fashioned prejudice.

  • blackbear1

    You want me or anyone to believe that the officer made a split second decision to step in the way of the vehicle, then voluntarily jump on the hood. I don’t think so!! All of us who don’t know the facts don’t think you do either. You are operating on emotion and are in no position to be saying who clearly does not know how to handle themselves. Try facing down a drunken, unresonable mob and see how you like it.

    • Don


      Perhaps Justice feels like he is facing down a drunken unreasonable mob reading you and other biased bloggers.

  • NY DA: Friends Of Pace University Student DJ Henry Will Not Face ChargesCBS Boston

    […] an Easton native, was shot and killed by Officer Aaron Hess last October. Hess has been cleared of criminal charges. Print Share […]

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