Pace University Teammates Plead Not Guilty
THORNWOOD, N.Y. (AP / WCBS 880 / CBS 2/ 1010 WINS) – Four Pace University football players who were arrested after their teammate was killed by police returned Thursday to the place where he was shot, silently paying their respects at a makeshift memorial and wearing black dog tags to honor their teammate.
Daniel Parker of Lauderhill, Fla.; Joseph Garcia of Floral Park, N.Y.; Yves Delpeche of Brooklyn; and Joseph Romanick of Slidell, La., made the 2 1/2-mile drive to the suburban shopping center after pleading not guilty at their arraignment at Mount Pleasant Town Court in Valhalla, CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown reports.
After the teammates made their plea, their attorney Bonita Zelman lashed out at the prosecutors.
“Instead of stepping up to the plate and dismissing these false charges, the district attorney has invited us in to help her with her investigation,” she said.
Police have defended their actions but admitted that none of the dashboard cameras were rolling that night. Amateur video has turned up though that showed the chaotic scene, and Zelman said it proves her clients’ innocence.
“There is no evidence that these young men that I represent committed any crime,” Zelman said.
Zelman asked that all charges be dismissed, but the district attorney argued successfully for a postponement instead, saying they are still trying to sort out what happened that night, and that the men are involved in an investigation far bigger than just the charges against them.
Parker, Garcia and Delpeche are charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction; Romanick is charged with criminal mischief.
They were arrested Oct. 17 in the chaotic aftermath of the police shooting, which resulted in the death of Danroy Henry, of Easton, Mass., hours after their school’s homecoming game.
Police, who had responded to a disturbance outside a bar in the Thornwood shopping center, said Henry sped away and hit two officers after another officer knocked on his car window. Some witnesses have contradicted that account.
Authorities allege three of the teammates interfered with getting medical aid to Henry; the other is accused of breaking a store window.
Some witnesses have alleged that the handcuffed Henry was neglected for up to 15 minutes after he was shot. Mount Pleasant police Chief Louis Alagno has said Henry received treatment from officers within three to five minutes of the first report of a shooting.
Zelman has called the charges against Henry’s teammates a cover-up for police brutality. Police say they have received no brutality complaint.
“We have no confidence in the Westchester County District Attorney or their office,” Zelman said.
Attorneys for the family of Henry and the men in court have requested that the Department of Justice or the attorney general take over the investigation.
Hector Garcia said the ordeal is taking a toll on his son, Joseph. “I feel the DA is hanging this over their head, these kids got school to finish, my son can’t play football no more, this is something that he loved very much and he loved his friend,” Garcia said.
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