Henry Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

By Phillip Martin

Apr. 20. 2011

Angella Henry, the mother of DJ Henry, holds a tee-shirt she was sent by college students in support of her son. (Jess Bidgood/WGBH)

BOSTON — On Wednesday, the parents of a college student from Massachusetts who was killed by police in a New York suburb plan to file a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit against two police departments.

This week, the parents of Danroy "DJ" Henry Jr. marked the 6-month anniversary of his death from gun shot wounds inflicted by a Pleasantville New York police officer, Aaron Hess.

The Henrys are filing a formal lawsuit against both the Pleasantville and Mt. Pleasant police departments, both of which had officers involved in the October 17th shooting.  The lawsuit, which seeks $120 million for wrongful death, will be filed in Westchester County, New York, by family attorney Michael Sussman.   
In February, a New York grand jury declined to hand down indictments in the shooting death of the 20-year-old Pace University football player from Easton. Henry was shot as he pulled away from a restaurant and bar in the village of Thornwood in the area of Mt Pleasant, New York.
According to multiple witnesses, Officer Hess, while clinging to the hood of the car, fired through the windshield of the moving vehicle. Henry’s friend, 20-year-old Brandon Cox, also of Easton, was sitting in the passenger seat. Cox was wounded when police opened fire. He testified before the grand jury that Henry drove away from Finnigan's Bar and Restaurant at the insistence of another officer,  who reportedly had ordered him to move out of a fire lane.
Police, however, allege that Henry sped up and tried to run Officer Aaron Hess over with his car. They also allege that Henry was intoxicated, although witnesses, including a bar tender, said that Henry did not drink that evening, and in fact was the designated driver for three friends.  
Lawyers for the Henry family argue that the police version of events is inconsistent with known evidence and are filing the lawsuit in part to gain access to video tapes from banks and other businesses in the area. Those tapes were confiscated by police and the Westchester County district attorney’s office immediately after the shooting and have not been made public.  
Meanwhile, a federal investigation of the shooting is in progress. 

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