Mom Responds To ‘Officer Of Year’ Who Shot D.J. Henry

By Paul Burton, WBZ-TV

EASTON (CBS) – DJ Henry’s mom Angella Henry says she’s not surprised Aaron Hess is Pleasantville’s “Officer of the Year.”

“We’ve been treated with sense of arrogance and humanity since the day it happened,” says Henry.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports

This is how they responded to us, and now, I am thankful people get to peak into what we’ve had to deal with.”

DJ, a Pace University football player from Easton, was shot and killed when Officer Hess fired at his car as he drove away from a bar in October.

Hess has been recovering from a knee injury after being hit by the car DJ was driving.

Last Friday the Pleasantville Benevolent Association awarded him officer of the year.

The union president said they want to “recognize all he went through and for all his hard work.”

former Boston Police officer, Tom Nolan, a criminal justice professor at Boston University is stunned by the move to honor the officer.

“This is a disgrace and an outrage,” Nolan said.

“To publicly make a commendation like this call into question the wisdom and judgment of the people who made the decision to give this award to this officer under these circumstances.”

Angella Henry heard about the award Tuesday night.

“I have nothing to say to Hess. He’s spoken loud enough. He’s taken our first born child away from us,” she said. “If these group of 23 men who have supported him all along can give him any type of award they want to.”

More from Paul Burton
  • Matt

    I don’t see anything controversial about this award. We have an officer that was injured on the job by putting his life on the line protecting the public from a drunken idiot. Good job and keep up the good work.

  • Joey

    So was Henry drunk or not? What was his blood alcohol level? The public needs to know if he was drinking when he ran over the cop Hess. So what is the story? Was Hess justified? This is all important information left out of this story.

    • kasser

      @ Joey

      Huh ?

      “The public needs to know if he was drinking when he ran over the cop Hess”

      Who cares if he was drunk or not, HE RAN OVER A COP

  • Gail

    Is there noone out there who sees that this Police Officer acted wrongly? Why was DJ hand-cuffed when he was dying? Why did the Officer shoot directly at his face instead of blowing out a tire or something? Why didn’t he signal to DJ a warning first? Did DJ aim his car directly at the Officer? I really don’t believe what MATT said in regard to the Officer placing his life on the line. For whom did the Officer place his life on the line? DJ is gone. His family is grieving. Those of you who are siding with the Officer, do you fully understand what happened that evening? So, the Officer has been vindicated. BUT, to give him an honorable award like this? FOR WHAT? For takiog the life of a bright, talented, well-loved young man who had a promising future? I don’t get the thought process here. Why not talk with DJ’s family and find out what kind of man DJ Henry was first before judging.

    • kasser

      You’re absolutely right, let’s punish the officer for doing his job instead.

      I wasn’t there, nor were you. That I am sure we can agree on.
      What we do know is this..
      1) Dark, so any warnings likely couldn’t be seen
      2) How do you shoot a car tire when standing in front of a vehicle ?
      3) Did he aim directly at the officer ? Don’t know, did the officer get hurt by getting hit by the car ? yes – are you suggesting that the officer jumped in front of the car so he could justify a shooting ?
      4) Officers will handcuff a suspect even if injured if they believe that he still pose
      a threat to them or the suspect him or herself. This kid just tried to run over an officer.

      Bright, Talented and well-loved kid. I didn’t know him so can say but sure, I will agree with you. This Bright, Talented and well-loved kid never the less sped up towards an officer, hitting him and hurting him. Not very bright nor very talented.

      The bright and talented thing to do would be to get out of the car and follow instructions

      All that said, I do feel for the family and their loss. It is a tragic case and should have never happened.

      But to deny an officer an award which covers his career in whole because of an incident, which he was vindicated in mind you, is ridiculous.

    • Miley

      What is this a movie? shooting out the tires? that doesn’t happen in real life you don’t get multiple shoots to get the scene right. Yea lets send him a warning signal that if you drive that car at me I’m going to shoot you. Really tell me what kind of signal you want the cop to send him that he will see in time while he is driving at the cop and will give the cop enough time to react?

    • alberto

      all parents will put their children in a pedestal whether they are criminals or not this bright young man like you stated is someone that you dont know anything on his back ground of and that bright young man shouldnt been driving drunk and running over an officer what a bright young man he was thats why that happen to him i feel bad for many officers putting their lives in danger for people like this let your family be involve with those drunk drivers on the street anyone facing what happen to that officer will react the same way but we live in a society where all people want is to sue for millions when is even their fault ridiculous i dont feel bad for the family at all put respect and show morals to your children and this things wont happen to you teach your kids to dont drink and drive if they do and put other peoples lifes in danger there will be consequences his friends will defend him of course they are as guilty as he was out of control teenagers that want to rule the streets family needs to grow up and stop thinking about getting money for their son nonsense.

  • pete

    I think that anyone who has followed this case with an eye toward the facts would have to say that we don’t have enough facts to know what happened that night. College kids can do stupid things especially when they drink, but cops can do crazy over the top things when they are under pressure and we don’t know which side the majority of the blame should fall on right now. I think that with sufficient pressure all the facts FROM BOTH SIDES can be examined and the truth can be reveled. How the police association got to this place at this time is beyond me. It speaks poorly of their leadership and of their humanity. They are a disgrace.

  • Joey

    OK, I see in the linked article that Henry’s Blood alcohol level was .13, or nearly double the legal limit. In other words, he was drunk driving and ran over a police officer. Ugly story.

  • Ugh

    Just remember that everyone acts out of character when they’ve been drinking. My family probably wouldn’t have described me as a drunken a-hole because they never saw me drunk. It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t. DJ Henry may have been a wonderful person sober, but if he was drinking, anything is possible

  • timma

    gail your an idiot. your watching too many tv shows. if shot with a bullet, it hits one spot on the body. when hit with a car, it hits you all over. Did 20 year old DJ have a fake ID? did the bar he was drinking car him? why was DJ drinking? Why did his friends let him drive? why was DJ drunk behind the wheel? How far does someone have to drive before you realize there is someone on the hood of your car? why didn’t he stop when he did realize there was someone on the hood? why didn’t the press report that not one but 3 officers were hit with the car? why hasn’t the press kept up with the officers rehab becase he had both knees taken out? Why did a grand Jury, which is made up from the public within the county that pleasantville is in, find that there wasn’t enough evidence that a crime had been committed by the officer? why haven’t you sent flowers to the officer?

    • alberto

      strongly agree people just want to hear what they want and always put the story to benefit themselves the officers family should sue Dj family for all this aggravation those people dont make nosense

  • DrStrangelove

    The only problem with this story (other than spelling and being treated with humanity, which is actually a really nice thing) is the accusation by the parents that the officer “took’ their son.

    Uh, no, that would have been the boy putting himself in the situation in the first place. regardless of what the outcome was, and it was BAD I won’t even argue that, this family has to accept some fraction of responsibility for their son’s idiocy. it cost him his life by setting into motion a series of really unfortunate events.

    In this case, ignorance is two-fold: DJ for drinking underage and getting behind the wheel, and this officer being awarded any kind of commendation.

    Stupid truly is as stupid does.

  • Cinque

    The entire case is still being looked at by the Justice Dept. because of the many different versions of just what happened that night. That being said, why would a police union give such an award, first time award, to a cop who shot a young man? Serial killers, hit men and rapists get a life sentence but these yokels from ….anything but Pleasantville, award someone who was probably the first to ever fire his gun in this town. Prof. Nolan is correct in saying that it is a disgrace and an outrage.

  • Misplaced Guilt: DJ Henry | Weer'd World

    […] story here, we covered this story in the “Gun Death?” File here. Go back and read the original […]

  • DStein

    We don’t know what happened that night, but the Grand Jury heard plenty of testimony from people there that night including DJ Henry’s friends. After hearing all of that testimony and reviewing other evidence the Grand Jury came to conclusion that the police didn’t do anything wrong. The Henry family may not agree with that, but then again, they weren’t there that night either.

    What little bit we do know is that DJ was well over the legal alcohol limit and that the police officer in question was run over by DJ and suffered serious injuries. When someone uses a car as a lethal weapon, the police have a right to use deadly force to protect themselves. Pretty straight forward.

    Yes, the outcome of that night’s events are tragic for all involved. I don’t think the police took any great satisfaction in needing to draw their weapons amongst an unruly crowd of drunk college kids. They weren’t called to scene because those kids were behaving themselves. The students initiated the chaos. Instead of blaming the police, how about those kids look in the mirror and question their role in DJ’s death.

  • Abbidoo

    Congratulations on the award, Officer Hess. I hope you regain full mobility from your injuries.

    The Henry family has lost my sympathy at this stage of their game. Their kid was a decent kid that made a series of fatal mistakes that night. Everybody can accept that except for them. Their hateful campaign of denial and blame has diminished the memory of their son for most

  • Mallen

    Drunk and ran over a cop in a car. What the hell do you think the cop should do? Throw a flower at the automobile?


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