EASTON, Mass. — A new investigation will be launched into the 2010 police shooting death of Easton native D.J. Henry, according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
DA Miriam E. Rocah made the announcement Thursday with D.J.’s parents Danroy and Angella Henry standing by her side.
Investigative Reporter Ted Daniel spoke to the Henrys by Zoom as they were preparing to fly back to Boston immediately after the news conference.
“We’ve been disappointed in the past. But you know, we’ll we’ll see where this goes, we have no reason to believe that this is not sincere,” Danroy Henry told Daniel about the announcement.
D.J. Henry was a junior football player at Pace University in New York. On October 17, 2010, now former police officer Aaron Hess shot him multiple times through his car windshield as D.J. was attempting drive away from an off-campus bar following a fight. Henry was unarmed and while testifying in a federal civil rights lawsuit, Hess conceded he could have stepped out of the way.
A grand jury was convened after the shooting to investigate the circumstances surrounded the killing but no charges were filed. A federal Civil Rights probe also yielded no charges. In 2016, the Henry family was awarded a $6 million settlement from Officer Hess and Mt Pleasant, NY.
“Some may ask why look backwards and the reason is simple. Today, we have appropriately higher expectations for scrutiny of police encounters with mentally ill and unarmed people and for prosecutors responses to such incidences,” DA Rocah said about the new probe.
“We’re assuming, and we’re believing that there is more information that wasn’t presented in the first grand jury that we’re hoping will be reviewed this time,” Angella Henry told Boston 25.
25 Investigates asked Aaron Hess’ attorney Brian S. Sokoloff about the reopening of the case.
Sokoloff provided a statement by email. Part of it reads:
“While we are disappointed to learn that the Westchester District Attorney has decided taken another look at the evidence in the Danroy Henry matter eleven years after the incident, we are confident that, once again, a fair look at the evidence will show Aaron Hess acted appropriately.
There is not a single piece of new evidence since those investigations, not one.
This matter is a tragedy for all involved. The Henrys lost their son. Aaron Hess, a beloved officer in the community for many years with no negative history, suffered severe injuries (a shattered knee) when he was hit by the Henry vehicle, injuries so severe that they prevented him from ever again helping people in his chosen field.”
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