Man Killed For Moving His Car From A Fire Lane?
Passenger claims D.J. Henry thought police simply wanted him to move when they opened fire
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A mountain of evidence released Monday confirms only that chaos and confusion dominated the suburban New York scene where a college football player was shot and killed by a police officer through the windshield of his moving car.
Police dispatcher recordings reveal a quick escalation from a standard "fight in progress'" call to shouts of "Shots fired! Officer down!" One officer who thought he had shot another weeps in relief when he learns it's not true. And surviving passengers in the car say visibility was limited by condensation on the windshield, suggesting the possibility that the driver couldn't easily see the policeman who tried to stop him and then shot him.
The materials released Monday are from the investigation into the 2010 shooting of Danroy Henry Jr., 20, of Easton, Mass.
The policeman who acknowledged shooting Henry, Pleasantville Officer Aaron Hess, was cleared by a grand jury, but Henry's family is suing him; they released the documents after a judge gave his permission.
Henry, a Pace University football player known as D.J., was shot in his Nissan Altima as he drove through a parking lot away from a disturbance that had spilled out of a bar on Homecoming Day. He had been parked in a fire lane, and key witnesses seem to agree that he drove off when a policeman tapped on the window.
But the policeman says he yelled, "Stop!" One passenger, Henry's friend Brandon Cox, said he heard that. The other passenger said, "I have no idea why D.J. didn't stop."
The car - which the accident report says traveled at 15 to 24 mph in the parking lot - then hit Hess, police said, and the officer ended up on the hood. The Henry family attorney, Michael Sussman, said Monday there's evidence Hess jumped onto the hood and was not hit.
Some witnesses said Hess couldn't get out of the way; some said he jumped into the car's path.
Hess, who later said he could stop the car only by shooting the driver, fired into the car, which crashed into a police cruiser.
Cox, who was also wounded, told police that Henry yelled, "They shot me! They shot me!"
A dashboard camera from another police car recorded a video of the aftermath, in which Henry, dying from his gunshots, and Hess, his leg injured from the impact of the car, are treated on the ground. In a statement to police, one paramedic said she told another that she thought Henry was dead but the second paramedic went to his aid anyway.
Henry, and then Hess, are eventually wheeled off on gurneys.
There is no video of the shooting itself, lawyers say.
But witness statements describe the parking lot as a chaotic scene, with other students frightened and angry at police to the point where some were subdued with stun guns. Several students also are suing.
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