Family Of Pace U. Football Player Killed By Police Files Civil Rights Suit

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The parents of Pace University football player Danroy “D.J.” Henry have officially filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officer who shot and killed him.

In the complaint, Danroy Henry Sr. and Angella Henry said police violated the civil and constitutional rights of their son and demanded compensation for their son’s death and their suffering.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports from White Plains

“Our son was wrongfully killed,” Danroy Henry Sr. said at news conference outside the family home. In a statement accompanying the lawsuit, the parents said, “The pain of losing our son so suddenly is insatiable and not only has his absence changed us forever, but his suffering will always haunt us as well.”

Henry, 20, was shot dead by a police officer in Pleasantville last fall. Henry was driving away from a disturbance outside a bar. Aaron Hess, the officer who shot Henry, said he was struck by Henry’s car and hurled onto the hood. He shot Henry through the windshield. Hess suffered serious injuries.

Some witnesses have disputed Hess’ account.

In their complaint, the Henrys said the car was moving at a reasonable speed and that Hess jumped in front of the car, “ascended” the hood and fired at their son for no good reason.  They also said he “steadied himself and fired four shots.”

No specific amount of damages was listed in the complaint. The family’s attorney, Michael Sussman, said in January the Henrys would seek $120 million.

In February, a grand jury cleared officer Hess of any wrongdoing. Just a week ago, the Police Benevolent Association of the Pleasantville Police Department gave Hess their “Officer Of The Year” award.

The Department of Justice previously said it would review the case for civil rights crimes, since Henry was black and all the officers involved were white.

In February, Danroy Henry Sr. said the grand jury’s decision to clear Hess of wrongdoing was “not designed to tell the truth but rather to minimize the civil and criminal liability of the agencies involved.”

What do you think of the lawsuit? Is it a money grab or an attempt to get some kind of justice for the death of their son? Sound off in our comments section.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Al Jones
  • kendra

    i doubt it if the family was or is looking for a personal hand out what so ever i think they are going for the whats wrong attitude…and it the principle in in this whole situation and the pain and suffering that is involved also….

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  • Rick L

    Me thinks that Quasimodo spent too much time in BELL TOWER.

    Thus the reason why BELL TOLLER cannot see straight.

  • Rodin

    Bye-bye, one and all. Over and out!

    • D Truth

      Rudin GET BACK TO WORK!!!!! you are a waste of time
      thats D Truth….lol

    • D Truth

      Rodin i forgot to tell you…..

      Dj Henry’s spirit is going to haunt you for the rest of your pathetic life…..
      you are a fast talker but it aint getting you any where…papas boy…

      by the way i just noticed that you posted as early as 1;53am.(what a looser)
      you probably dont have a job to pay taxes with ….keep your mouth shut you have no say so.
      wow that makes you a thirty something year old looser…..with worthless comments and idiotic insults towards the truth….lol

  • Rodin

    “Your use of big words does not make you intelligent Rodin.”

    I profusely APOLOGIZE FOR GETTING AN EDUCATION and for my family’s giving me one. I assume your resentment is because you don’t. Get one. It’s never too late. And get rid of that chip on your shoulder. BTW, English, “big words” and all, is my second language. You need to depend on acronyms like GTFO. Can’t you spell it out? So cool!

    • Rodin

      I apol;oize again.

      This was meant for “The Ligh” at the bottom of these posts.

      See, I make mistakes … and admit them.

      • Rodin

        There seems to be a glitch below and cannot post a reply there so I’ll finish of here:.

        @ The Ligh
        April 21, 2011 at 3:17 am

        “You are making statements and trying to pass them off as facts as if YOU are the truth in this whole matter.”

        I’m not trying to “pass” anything as “truth” but the facts are there for anyone who wants the information. And the FACTS are simple enough: under age drinking, DWI, hooliganism, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, interfering with an ongoing criminal investigation, flight to avoid arrest, assault with a deadly weapon (the car) ….

        Here’s one more intelligent than me:
        “People are afraid of facts, what used to be called truth.” – Francis Bacon

        Google HIM, jerk, cuz FOR SURE you don’t have a clue who that is.

  • Joshua

    He ran over a Police Officer. He deserves what he got.

  • Rodin

    Past midnight. The moron has been set loose.

    • Rodin

      G’night. Over ‘n’ out.

    • Rodin

      NB: Moron refers to avx, below.

  • Missy

    He was shot. Handcuffed after being shot. And no one attended to him for 15 minutes. That’s the saddest part. Maybe he could’ve lived. And then had to deal with the consequences if he had.
    Regardless of who jumped on the hood or was hit by the car. Regardless if the kid was drinking. Regardless of his parents suing. The young man was shot and handcuffed and had no medical attention for his injuries.

    • Rodin

      Inform yourself before you play the fool..

  • avx

    The case will be settled because the lying, cowardly “officer of the year” Hess and his superiors will never testify under oath in an open court.

  • warren

    Officer: Sir, the victim was shot by a police while he was on the hood of the car.
    Lt. Caine: Well where i’m from, we call that
    *Puts on shades*
    Lt. Caine: Hood Justice


    • Rodin

      Then the nuts come out….

  • Sober Truth

    He was an aspiring rap artist….turning his life around….and that’s the Sober Truth!

    • Rodin

      Huh? I thought “he was a young man with a dream like Martin Luther King Jr”, at least according to Roberta Magee below.

  • David Goldstein

    Here we go again…playing the race card.

    • Sal

      …hey, YOU do it.

  • jagdish

    A cop on the hood of the car pointing a gun at the kid and the kid kept going? Parents should keep quiet and start doing their job to raise their other kids properly instead of looking for a $120M payday.

  • willyg

    Danroy Henry…is he related to Lavender Williams?

  • Roberta Magee

    There is no way on God’s green precius earth an “officer of the law” deserve an award for a cold-bloodied murder of a young college man or anyone earning a college education whatsoever. It is a sad experience for his family and friends. He was a young man with a dream like Martin Luther King Jr. The officer deserve to feel the anger and come to realize what he has done to this family’s spirits.

    • Rodin

      Another ignorant who can’t write: Preci-O-us, cold-blood-E-d;deserve-S.

      What about those NOT in college, is it alright to ‘murder’ them? Did you get a “college education”? Can we kill you.

      There are plenty of thugs in college. See “Roommate Charged In Rutgers University Student Tyler Clementi’s Suicide” right here on CBS. Do we let bullies Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei go scott free. After all, they’re young college students. I’m SURE Mr Ravi is following Gandhi’s dream and Ms Wei Confucius’.

      Finally, it’s GOD’s fault. IT LET IT HAPPEN! Was this “young college man … with a dream like Martin Luther King Jr. not worth a little miracle.

      Please keep your gods out of it.

    • Rodin

      You see, you’re a royal @rse. Get back In your hole. Rod.

      – Your Alter Ego.

      • Rodin

        Hey, Rod In (not to be confused with Rodin), Looks like all your racist rant has been removed. Too bad, ignorance should be shined upon and exposed.

        Mind you, I’m no partisan of this punk.

  • danno

    “He wuz a good boy. Neva eva, did nuffin like dis, k?”

  • mm

    i do feel for the parents however, his friends gave false report that he wasn’t drinking but had a BAC of over .12. this is known fact since info was done at westchester med ctr.

  • http://Aol Ron

    Let me get this correct their son is drunk behind the wheel of a car try’s to Run over a cop or to refuses to stop when ordered and they are suing they should be sued for filing a false law suit and not knowing where their son was that nite and what he was doing

    • sae

      Ron, were you there? You know for sure he was drunk? The issue here is not wheather a White officer killed a Black youth. That is clouding the discussion. The issue is how did the communication break down so fast in a sitatuaion which is common place near any college after a bar lets out. Officers should be trained to use discernment and descretion..rgardless of color or sex. It seems a bit extreme that the only way to resolve this was with 3 bullets to ther face. Reading through this thread is scary…The kid was labeled a Thug, a resistor to Police instruction, and many other titles which are matters of peronal bias an opinion. A young man was killed when better communication could have avoided the tragedy all together

      • Rodin

        Don’t always have to BE THERE to see what’s blatantly transparent. The facts are there for ball to see. Put yourself in a split second situation like this. What’s the timeline for “communication”. The cop told him to STOP. What more do you need?

        Thug, punk, football jock, underage drunk, DWI…, DEAD.

        Anything on the bartender who served him without carding, the management and owners of the bar? Talk about someone worth suing!

      • Bob Fowler

        How about instead of the police needing training, the parents of these future leaders, with such lofty dreams, take responsibility and raise their own whelp? It is a parent’s job to raise their child to conform to society, and not society’s job to conform to the lawless.

        Every single incident is forced down the road of racial injustice. Every single incident is forced down the road of financially insane lawsuits. Every single issue is forced down the road of corrupt police. Here’s a thought; even a broken clock is right twice a day, so maybe, just maybe, some of these darlings are wrong for their own actions?

  • z z zodiac

    I don’t know why people are making this a racial issue- an underaged young man got behind the wheel drunk and did not stop when a cop told him to. I feel bad for the family’s loss but his actions alone determinned the outcome.

  • Westchester01

    Unfortunately political correctness hides the the fact that Dabroy Henry was driving drunk and probably would have killed someone in the parking lot when he tried to speed out. He saw a cop and got scared because he didn’t want to get arrested for driving drunk and lose his scholarship. The family of the cop should sue Danroy Henry’s family for the endangerment he caused.

  • Rodin

    You’re so full of yourself it’s impairing your senses (if you ever had any, that is). You’re black and a racist (and misogynist, considering yo’ handle) blowhard. Get a life.

    • Rodin

      My mom died in 1982. She wasn’t very good at sex. I’m an only child. But I do have a brain.

      You’re not JUST a reverse racist with an over-bloated sense of entitlement; not only a misogynist (if you don’t know what that is, I’m not going to make it easy for you, google it, I doubt you own a dictionary) whose references to women demonstrate you have serious issues about them; you’re an all-round bigot.

      Some people DO get what they deserve, NaSTyHo. Maybe you’ll get yours some day.

    • D Truth

      me a racist? naw…but i’ll tell you this..i was way out of line with that mother comment and i apologized, because you didnt deserve what i said about your mom…..sorry dude.(i apologize to anyone who i offended, mother jokes are no good specially when passed away)

      now!! back to what the meaning of misogynist……it means yo pops…lol. sorry but i had to say it.


      yes, i agree i will get mine one day……and so does every body else including you….

    • HaDYoMsiS

      what ever rodin, that boy did not deserve to die that way. senses…yeah i have more than you and i bet you are down with shooting now and asking questions later…..(racist) telling me to blow hard? i bet thats what your moms was doing in the back seat. looser….that kid did not deserve to die that way.

  • Micha

    I personally believe that Mr. Henry’s family were taken advantage of by their attorney, Mr. Sussman. Anyone from Westchester knows that Michael Sussman is an ambulance chaser and the quintessential money hungry sell-your-soul-to-the-devil lawyer. I think he talked them into this lawsuit under the guise of “justice for danroy.” Although, we all know Mr. Sussman just wants his cut once the lawsuit is paid. What happened to Danroy was a tragedy, but I have to agree with the majority of the people on here that he played a huge part in his own death. When a cop says to stop the car, you STOP THE CAR, no question. I think he may have freaked or one of his friends may have yelled for him to go and he just reacted. However, the cop was cleared by a grand jury, not other cops.

    • Rodin

      In the press he’s often referred to as “a prominent civil rights lawyer though I’ve never heard of him. Maybe that’s just the way he describes himself when he wants to milk the race card.

      • Jill

        …as you are doing?

  • @2cents

    Henry was drunk. DWI. He was underage. If he were to follow the law, he would not be in that situation. Everyone is overlooking the fact that Henry got scared when he knew he was drunk and tried to drive off. I dont get hoe if you dont agree with henry’s side, you are racist. Dont forget the cop has to live with the fact that he took someones life, which is not easy. If you were the cops family, better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. If you had to make the choice of your life or someone elses, i bet most people would take the other life. PS. how do you know that officer has not done other things such as save someones life or some other great thing to get the award

  • Junior

    I did not know that drinking and driving and trying to run over a cop was a “civil right”. Must be new. I should sue them, as their son violated all our civil rights by jeoprodizing out safety while driving drunk. Can I sue them???? Money rgrab, rags to richs, sorry.

  • Trishe

    The family deserves compensation for the loss of their son. The cowboy cop has been cleared, made a “hero” and is ready to kill again.

    • Bell Toller

      compensation for their son acting like an animal and resenting authorithy?

      • Cop of the Year LOL

        Odd that the officer was not even injured. Except maybe his over-inflated ego. That kid did not deserve to die. And anybody who thinks he did needs to see a shrink. And this award thing, he would not have received it if the police were not trying to cover themselves. So now you have this looser cop who killed someone and now has an undeserved award. It makes me wish I was black.

      • john

        you are.

  • Rodin


    Is a thug by any other color still not a thug? If it behaves like a thug, it IS a thug.


    • Ty

      Exactly! Danroy Henry was acting like a thug and it unfortunately cost him his life.

  • M.A.D

    Officer Hess is a Criminal period

    • Ty

      A guy who puts himself in danger to protect the public is a criminal?
      Where did you get such ideas? Public schooll? your family?

      I think communities who have such low oppinion of police should be able to opt out of police protection and fend for themselves.

    • Junior

      You may be a criminlal but you certainly are a nitwit!

    • The LIgh

      What does public school or family have to do with it? you F’&%@ ignorant Trolls in here apparently seem to be racist to the fullest extent but then attempt to hide or deny it with “logic”. I strongly agree with Josh and many others here, tell me, had it been a truck or bus…would he have jumped in front of it to try to stop it? F&%* NO!! so why would he think he can stop a car controlled by a drunken driver? I’m not pointing fingers here at either party because I WASN’T THERE!!! but some of you idiots act as if you saw and witnessed the whole thing. So Ty and especially you Rodin, you all should go out side and go kill yourselves just for being stupid. Your use of big words does not make you intelligent Rodin. You are making statements and trying to pass them off as facts as if YOU are the truth in this whole matter. How about you GTFO (Google that if you your brain can’t decipher) and get a life.

  • Joe

    Racism is alive and well in the good ol`USA. Albeit, it most often goes below the radar—-unless the target is the President. This case should be investigated federally to ascertain the facts. America “land of equality”, you have a long way to go.I am a white retired criminal justice Texas state auditor.

    • Bob Fowler

      And after the Feds find that Danroy was wrong, and the cop was acting according to the laws set forth, then what? Before you get your shorts in a knot, I’m not saying they will, but what if.

      Then are we free of being called racist the next time? Are we free of ridiculous lawsuits the next time? Are parents then going to be made responsible for raising their children the next time? Are we ever going to be Americans, instead of white, black, Irish, Puerto Rican…? Are we ever going to reform the laws and regulate how much these ambulance chasing lawyers can get for bringing lawsuit after lawsuit?

      The land of opportunity is not supposed to mean you just need to wait until you can sue someone for your fortune.

      • Rodin

        My previous comment was for Bob Fowler.

        Joe: Texas? Do you get ANYTHING right down thar in the land of anti-science and the more the merrier on death row, p’rdner?

      • Rodin

        You got this one right, through and through!

      • Tim Weston

        “…the next time.”

        Comment, anyone? Not really needed. His inadvertant commentary states it all.

        …and the Choir said?:

  • Ty

    How often per day do you think of blonde haired white girls flashing their goodies?
    They have no place in this story, but if they are on your mind bring’em in to the debate. lol
    Nobody said it’s OK that a man was killed, only that the guilt does not belong to the officer who was attempting to protect the public from an out of controll youth.

  • Chucky

    This comment is intended to reassure black folks that there are still plenty of white folks out there who aren’t complete racists. We’re still out here, we never left you and we never will. And we’ll keep fighting ignorance and racism right alongside you, every step of the way.

  • Linda

    When told to “Stop” by the police, you STOP. I commend the police on their actions in this instance. If the child was taught to respect the police, this tragedy would not have occurred.

    • Ty

      Couldn’t agree more!!
      Good parents produce qualilty kids whose actions they can be proud of.

  • Ty

    Mr. Henry appears to have been raised in a community that has no respect for police. He died beacuse nobondy in his life ever taught him how to react to a officer of the law. These deaths will continue unitl the African American oppinion of police changes.

    • ae

      Ty…The Henry’s pay more in taxes then you will probably make this year to live in the “Community” that he was raised in. I think the point you wanted to make was that officer’s in his community actually know how to read and have common sense. They are probably aware that discharging a fire arm in a crowd of college kids is probably not the smartest thing to do…but hey, one less afro-teen to keep you up at night right?

      • Ty

        My point is that if you don’t teach your children how to respond to police you are putting them in danger. How much taxes a family pays is irrelevent and has no place in this debate.
        How about Black police Blacks and White police Whites? Would that help?

  • Josh

    If Officer Hess is a “hero”, what do you call police officers or firefighters who die in the line of duty?
    Failure to follow directions as you so claim doesn’t warrant an officer jumping on your car and firing point blank shots to kill. If it happened to your kid, you might feel differently, Ben.

    • tj

      Failure to follow orders of law enforcement to the extent that injury could be sustained on another officer or bystanders IS ENOUGH REASON TO USE DEADLY FORCE. Why on earth do people think police should “wait and see” what happens. There is no time for that. I’ve said it hundreds of times. Do not put yourself in a predicament where you could potentially get into a scuffle with police (i.e. buying drugs, hanging with gang bangers, drinking and driving, seeking out prostitutes etc. etc.) and there will be no possibility of “dealing with police”. Over and over I see police kill “good students” and “innocent victims” but folks teach your kids respect and to look up to authority and this will not happen. Very few of these incidents are tragic but almost all of them are AVOIDABLE. AVOIDABLE is key here.

  • Josh

    He did. He was told to move his car and he did so, inadvertantly into the leg of another officer who wasn’t providing said directions you speak of. That officer then played cowboy and jumped on the hood of Mr. Henry’s car and fired 2 shots point blank killing Danroy Henry IN THE PARKING LOT.
    Rest in peace Danroy Henry.

    • Zoe


      The officer didn’t “jump on the roof like a cowboy,” he was actually hit by the car and thrown onto the roof. If you don’t believe me, look up his hospital photos, I believe he had a broken leg and hip.

  • bee

    were u there Mr. Troller, to substantiate the police’s claim that it was Mr. Henry, as opposed to the police over reacting. Of course the police have that blue code of silence thing going on, as well. Officer Hess being honored is a travesty, and an insult to the Henry family, And by the way RACIST, the Henry family will prevail.

  • KenGault

    Obviously if he was any good as a football player he wouldn’t be playing for Pace.

    • bee

      How insensitive and racist you are…

      • Ann Marie Kellett

        What did Ken Gault say that was racist? Clearly is was insensitive but race wasn’t even hinted. Throwing out the race card every time you read something you don’t like renders it useless.

    • bee

      Some of you people are very sick individuals. No wonder this country is in flaux, with the Tea Party mentality to divide and concur.

      • Rodin

        1 – And it’s “divide and conQUER”, not concUR.

        2 – This country is not in ‘flux’. It’s in regression.

      • Jersey Sal

        That’s “flux”, Bee, you Moron…

        Anyone who attacks a cop is attacking an armed person, trained in the use of those arms. A car is a potent weapon. At the least, a momentary lapse of judgment on the kids part left the officer on the hood of a car that was trying to speed away threatening the officer with severe bodily harm and/or death. There was no time to research the kids background. The cop was not given the award for capping the kid. An unbiased review of his work over the past year will show that he is a caring, dedicated, conscientious public servant. But that won’t make for a pay day, will it???

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