NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — No federal civil rights charges will be brought in the 2010 death of a college football player by a Pleasantville police officer, who said he shot the man in his moving car when he failed to stop.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Tuesday that evidence in the shooting of Danroy Henry Jr. in Thornwood failed to establish the “exacting standard of criminal intent” required for criminal charges.

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Bharara said the conclusion was reached after an exhaustive examination of all evidence, including consultation with experts.

Officer Aaron Hess, who shot the Pace University football player, was earlier cleared by a grand jury.
Henry was shot in his car as he drove through a parking lot away from a disturbance that spilled out of a bar in Thornwood on Homecoming Day — Oct. 17, 2010.

In a written statement, Bharara said, “To prove a violation of the federal criminal civil rights statutes, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a law enforcement officer willfully deprived an individual of a constitutional right, meaning that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids.

“This is one of the highest standards of intent imposed by law, and is different and higher than the intent standard under the relevant state statutes. Neither accident, mistake, fear, negligence nor bad judgment is sufficient to establish a willful federal criminal civil rights violation.

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“After conducting an exhaustive examination of all of the evidence, including consultation with experts, career federal prosecutors determined that the evidence does not establish the exacting standard of criminal intent required for a federal criminal civil rights prosecution.”

Michael Sussman, the attorney for the Henry family, said they pray for Hess and they pray for justice– and in this case, there is little surprise.

“Their judgment is, that under the very high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt of willful act, that they can’t prove the case. We disagree,” he told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.

On Twitter Tuesday night, Henry’s father, Danroy Henry Sr., said the family does not fault the Department of Justice for its decision.

“Our faith is unwavering and we continue to press into the legacy building work of thee DJ Dream Fund, where DJ’s compassion lives on,” the senior Henry tweeted. “We will take some time to reflect and be available after that time. It our hope that Hess will see and admit his wrong. Admit then forgive!”

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