It's been 10 years since 20-year-old DJ Henry from Easton, Massachusetts was fatally shot by a police officer in New York, but the case has been getting more attention recently from celebrities like Jay-Z and Rihanna, who are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to consider new evidence. The calls come as more people across the country urge officals to reexamine instances of white police officers killing Black men in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. WGBH Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu spoke with WGBH News Senior Investigative Reporter Phillip Martin, who has been covering DJ Henry's case for years. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: Would you walk back through that night in New York?

Phillip Martin: Yeah, let me tell you just for a second about DJ Henry. This was a 20-year-old Pace University football player. He always wanted to play football, and so he played for Pace University. And that night in October 2010, he and friends were celebrating homecoming and decided to go to a bar in Pleasantville, New York. This is in Westchester County. And at the end of the night, around 1:15 a.m., DJ said he was going to go get the car. He was the designated driver that evening, and he went to get the car with a friend, they were sitting in a fire lane.

A police officer knocked on the window [and] told them to move the car — you're in a fire line. He said yes, he inched the car up. It's believed maybe he was driving, according to witnesses, about seven miles per hour. At that point, a police officer jumped on the hood of the car. The interpretation of the police officer is that DJ Henry tried to run him over. But he jumped on the hood, according to witnesses, started firing into the car through the windshield, [hitting but not instantly killing] DJ Henry and injuring his friend. He was then pulled out of the car by police officers, handcuffed and left on the ground facedown. In the meantime, when the emergency crew arrived, they started tending to [officer] Aaron Hess, but left DJ Henry on the ground, where he later died en route to the hospital. He bled out on the ground. His case has become a cause célèbre, Joe, because of the circumstances.

Mathieu: George Floyd ripped the covers off the bed and helped to push a lot of these cases into the spotlight. Why this one and why now, though? Why are the celebrities getting involved? Is there a personal connection?

Martin: First of all, even back in 2010, 2011, when the case of DJ Henry came to national attention, at that time even Jay-Z and a very different type of Kanye West at the time took up his cause and they created a hip-hop song dedicated to DJ Henry. His parents never explicitly saw race as an issue, though I think that may have changed over the years. But this was considered another case of an unarmed Black man shot to death by a white police officer, and essentially the white police officer getting away with it. Aaron Hess subsequently was not arrested. A grand jury was convened in Westchester County. The case is being revisited because this case was really never properly investigated.

A grand jury was impaneled — a secret grand jury. But it never was revealed what the grand jury heard, including testimony that came out in discovery in a civil suit that DJ Henry probably was shot by Aaron Hess. But it was Aaron Hess who was being shot at by another police officer, a guy named Ronald Beckman. Ronald Beckman testified in a civil suit years later that people never heard during the grand jury testimony, it's believed, said he was shooting at somebody he thought was an aggressor. He did not know that Aaron Hess, on the car [and] shooting through the window, was a police officer. So this is why the case is being revisited, Joe, because there are a lot of unanswered questions. And also it was revealed during the deposition that the police chief at the time basically presented a lie — a version of the story that was not true — to the grand jury and to reporters.

Mathieu: I wonder what it looks like now that this is becoming a mainstream movement with celebrities pushing this on social media and so forth. It's in the attorney general's hands. What happens next?

Martin: Well, the reason we're even talking about this, Joe, is because celebrities basically called on William Barr to reinvestigate this case. The U.S. attorney at the time for the Southern District of New York chose not to pursue this case, it's believed, because of the problem of qualified immunity. I'm not sure what could change now, especially [with] a Justice Department that is far more hostile to the whole notion of Black Lives Matter. But this is an individual case, and so it's possible that he could take this up. But a lot of people aren't crossing their fingers. What's more important, people believe, in terms of reality, is to raise the case and to raise the contradictions that [have] shredded this case in retrospect for many people.