WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Westchester County district attorney has ordered an independent review of two fatal police shootings of Black men.
In 2010, Pace University football player Henry was shot dead by Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess, who claimed Henry’s car struck him and he feared for his life.
In 2011, ex-Marine Chamberlain was killed by White Plains Officer Anthony Carelli, who said Chamberlain had a knife and posed a threat.
Both cops were cleared by Westchester County grand juries.
But now, new District Attorney Mimi Rocah will review the charging decisions, appointing former Federal Judge John Gleeson to lead the team revisiting the cases.
“Whether there was possible criminal liability that was not fully explored, to ensure that there is transparency and accountability,” Chamberlain family attorney Mayo Bartlett said.
“We’re hopeful today that that review will yield a more just outcome for our son and for Mr. Chamberlain,” D.J. Henry Sr. said.
The families have long questioned whether the grand juries were led towards rejecting charges against the officers.
“Most of these prosecutors read from the same playbook, and time and time again we’ve heard that after their investigations, there is no indictment of these police officers,” Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. said.
Both the Henry and Chamberlain grand juries were overseen by former DA Janet DiFiore. She is now the top judicial official in all of New York state.
A spokesperson for Chief Judge DiFiore told Aiello, “The current DA is entitled to review any case,” and pointed out two U.S. Attorneys DR Rocha previously worked with, “also declined to file any charges.”
“I’m not gonna criticize Janet DiFiore today. She did what she did at the time with the information she had available to her,” Henry family attorney Randolph McLaughlin said.
The lawyers said civil litigation has uncovered additional information and they’ll share everything with the team now reviewing the cases.
Rocah said while starting a review, she is not pre-judging the outcome, adding further actions beyond the review will only happen if supported by the facts and the law.