Sunday, November 28, 2021

VIDEO: Rihanna, JAY-Z, Mary J. Blige Among Celebs Asking DOJ to Reexamine Danroy ‘DJ’ Henry Case

danroy-dj-henry
Danroy “DJ” Henry

*Pharrell, Rihanna, JAY-Z and Mary J. Blige are among a group of celebrities seeking justice for Danroy “DJ” Henry, a Black student at Pace University who was fatally shot by a white police officer in 2010.

The group sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr asking the Department of Justice to reevaluate whether discrimination played a role in Henry’s death, and if so, to “deliver the justice that restores this young man’s reputation, while giving hope to other young Black men who are just like him and desperate for change.”

On Oct. 17, 2010, police were called to a fight outside a Westchester County sports bar where Henry, a 20-year-old college football player, was celebrating with his teammates. News outlets reported that Henry was unarmed and in his car when officer Aaron Hess approached him. At that point, Hess claimed that Henry sped towards the officer in his car, at which point Hess shot Henry.

A civil lawsuit filed against Hess and another officer alleges Hess and another officer left Henry on the ground to bleed to death. A grand jury declined to indict Hess in 2011, and in 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it would not bring federal charges against the officer.

“This agonizing case remains an unhealed wound for the Henry family of the people of New York,” reads the letter, which was also signed by Charlize Theron, Taraji Henson, Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Williams, Kerry Washington and Gabrielle Union. “DJ, a young Black youth with a bright future ahead of him, was killed for no apparent reason inside his own vehicle.”

“The facts of the case reek of local conflict of interest, racial bias and even false testimony,” it continues. “But like so many other unarmed and innocent young, black men who find themselves guilty of being at the wrong time, DJ, too, lost his life for no good reason and with absolutely no good explanation — to this very day. Justice, it appears, has been denied.”

Their call for justice echoes nationwide protests over police misconduct and racial inequality, which erupted anew in May after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police, following the similar tragic deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all too many other Black Americans.

Below, the TV program “48 hours” chronicled the effort by Hess’s family to clear their son’s name.

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