Danroy Henry video: Dad says officials lied about fatal shooting

The family of Danroy

The family of Danroy "D.J." Henry, react during a news conference in Easton, Mass.at an athletic field named in his honor on the first anniversary of his death. From left is D.J.'s father Danroy Henry, his mother Angella, his sister Amber, 16, and brother Kyle, 19. Danroy "D.J." Henry, a 20-year-old Pace University student, was fatally shot by a New York police officer on Oct. 17, 2010 outside a bar in Thornwood, N.Y., just north of New York City. (Oct. 17, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Danroy Henry's father has posted a YouTube video claiming the deposition of a Mount Pleasant police officer about the shooting death of Henry's son by another officer proves officials engaged in "a fabrication" about the incident.

"Instead of giving us absolute truth, they chose a lesser path," Danroy Henry said in the video posted Sunday from his Easton, Mass., home.

Henry said in the 9 minute, 36 second video that after the 20-year-old Pace University football player was shot dead Oct. 17, 2010, outside a Thornwood bar by Pleasantville Officer Aaron Hess, the family just wanted the truth, "no omissions, no additions."

"What they offered to us was a false narrative designed to protect the people who were engaging in criminal behavior that night," Henry said.

Henry and eight of the dead youth's friends and teammates are suing Hess, the Village of Pleasantville, and Westchester County in federal court.

Officials claimed Hess shot Henry after being struck by Henry's car and clinging to the hood as Henry tried to flee the bar's parking lot.

But retired Mount Pleasant Officer Ronald Beckley -- who also fired his gun that night -- said in his deposition that he believed Hess was the aggressor and he fired at Hess -- not the car driven by Henry -- after hearing a gunshot and seeing Hess climbing onto the car from the fireline.

Beckley said he aimed to hit Hess "center mass," saying he did not recognize Hess in a uniform in the dimly lit parking lot.

In his own deposition, Hess said he fired after lunging onto the fleeing car.

The case was presented to a grand jury by the Westchester District Attorney's office but no charges were filed.

Henry, who had been in the bar earlier and was later discovered to have had a .13 blood alcohol level at the time of the incident, was sitting behind the wheel of his Nissan in a parking lot fire lane when Hess knocked on the driver-side window, prosecutors have said. Police said Henry sped off; his family contends that he drove away at reasonable speed, believing the officer was telling him to move.

Hess has alleged that he was struck by the car and thrown on to the hood, suffering a broken kneecap in the process.

Beckley said in his deposition that he was about 30 feet away from Hess. He heard the first shot, saw Hess mount the car and saw the gun in Hess' hand. He then heard three or four shots and fired at Hess, and believed he had struck Hess' knee, he testified. The car then careened past Beckley and came to a stop.

"The vehicle came to a rest. The person on the hood rolled off and came to rest at a curb . . . he was in a fetal position, holding his knee," Beckley testified, according to the deposition. "And Officer Hess said his knee was shot."

Hess' lawyer Brian Sokoloff said in a statement that it is inappropriate to draw conclusions from an incomplete deposition. He has yet to question Beckley.

"I hope that everyone will withhold judgment on this matter until the evidence is presented to a jury, as it was presented to a grand jury," Sokoloff said. "Jumping to conclusions after part of one person's deposition has been taken is unfair to the process of how lawsuits get decided in America."

The best of Newsday every day in your inbox. Get the Newsday Now newsletter!

Comments

Newsday.com now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: