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Grand jury clears officer in fatal shooting

WHITE PLAINS - A grand jury determined Monday that a police officer did not commit a crime when he shot and killed a college football player through the windshield of the student's car.

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said jurors found "no reasonable cause for an indictment" in the death of Danroy "D.J." Henry Jr., 20, of Easton, Mass.

Henry's father, Danroy Henry Sr., who had demanded a murder indictment, alleged that evidence was "withheld or mishandled" during the grand jury proceedings. He repeated his call for a federal investigation and said, "There are no words to express our disappointment."

Danroy Henry Jr., a Pace University student, was killed Oct. 17 when officers fired at his car as he drove away from a bar in Thornwood, north of New York City.

Police had been called to a disturbance that spilled out of the bar after the Pace homecoming game.

Henry, who had been in the bar earlier, was parked in his Nissan in a fire lane when a policeman knocked on the driver's-side window. Autopsy results showed an alcohol level in Henry's blood that exceeded the legal limit for driving, but his family said an analysis of stomach contents showed he was not drunk.

Police said Henry sped off; his family said he moved away at parking-lot speed, believing the officer was instructing him to move.

Henry's car hit Officer Aaron Hess, of the Pleasantville police force, and Hess ended up on the hood of the Nissan, firing through the windshield.

Through his lawyer, John K. Grant, Hess has acknowledged that he shot at Henry. He said he was in fear for his life and had no choice. A call to Grant was not immediately returned.

Danroy Henry Sr. and his wife, Angella Henry have refused to blame the shooting on racial prejudice, saying they did not know what was in Hess' heart. D.J. Henry was black; the officers involved were white.

DiFiore said 85 witnesses, including many Pace students who were at the shopping center, testified during the monthlong grand jury session.

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