Pace University student Danroy “DJ” Henry lost a football game on the afternoon of October 16th. But before he would make it home that night, he would lose something far greater—his life. In the early morning hours of October 17, DJ would be shot and killed by a Westchester County, N.Y. police officer. His good friend would be shot too, and sent to the hospital to recover. According to friends and family, DJ was a young man with a “heart of gold”, someone bound for success. His memorial service would fill the ballroom at the Boston Convention Center and be held on what would have been his 21st birthday.
By all accounts, DJ had a half of a mixed drink that night, around 9pm. He stayed out late with friends but was the “designated driver”. He spent some time dancing with an ex-girlfriend and visiting a few parties on campus. Around 1:30 am he was in his car with his best friend and high school classmate, Brandon Cox. They were parked in the firelane at Finnegan’s Grill waiting for a few friends to come out. It was then that an officer rapped on DJ’s window. DJ began to drive off. In the following seconds, a cop would end up on the hood of DJ’s car and several shots would be fired directly through the windshield—hitting DJ three times and Brandon once.
DJ was hit twice in the chest and once in the shoulder. Immediately following the shooting, he would be pulled from the car and laid out on the concrete. He would be cuffed as he lie, bleeding to death. Police say they attended to him within the first five minutes. His friends and teammates say it was more like fifteen.
Autopsy results would show that DJ had alcohol in his system. His blood alcohol content was 0.13 percent, a level that would have required he drink about 6 drinks in four hours—something that simply didn’t happen. His family’s attorney has suggested the discrepancy between what the autopsy shows and what countless witnesses have stated may be a result of natural chemical reactions in the body after death or even police tampering.
The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office will be presenting evidence to a grand jury this month. It’s expected to be a lengthy process and could take weeks for all of the evidence to be laid out. While the DA’s office states the investigation has largely been handled by the New York State Police, others are calling foul as it’s believed the local police departments have shared in the investigating—creating a hardly unbiased angle as one of their own was holding the gun that night.
The Henry family and supporters have repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of Justice to take over the investigation in the interest of objectivity, though their calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears. They've held letter writing campaigns and marched in support of the other men who were arrested that night, four of them, charged with disturbance following the shooting of their friend.
Join us in demanding a federal investigation--one free of bias and one that uncovers what really happened the morning that Henry was killed.
Photo Credit: Henry Family
When the people who are given the responsibility of protecting the public are accused of shooting an innocent, it’s a very serious matter. Given the power bestowed upon the police, accountability is crucial. If an investigation such as this one is shrouded in secrecy or seems to be tainted by local bias, the community loses faith in the system and justice is most definitely not served.
There are indications that the investigation has not been completely unbiased. A local grand jury, held behind closed doors recently determined the officer who killed DJ committed no crime. While the hearings were secretive, the fact that testimony from DJ's passenger that night wasn't heard is just one example that the hearings couldn't have possibly been thorough and unbiased.
If evidence was handled by the very police officers under investigation in the death of DJ Henry, it would seem that evidence is tainted. And there is no possible way for a grand jury to return a true bill when the local DA seems so intent on not pursuing indictment.
There were indications that the federal government would open an investigation at the conclusion of grand jury proceedings, when it was evident that justice, in fact, would not be served at the local level. That time has come.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.