PageSix reports a group of A-list celebrities is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the tragic death of an unarmed black Pace University junior who was fatally shot by a white Westchester cop in 2010.
The letter, sent Monday to US Attorney General William Barr, urges the Justice Department to reopen the case of Danroy “DJ” Henry’s slaying and probe possible police misconduct.
“The facts support this request, the law all but requires it, and justice — it demands it,” reads the letter signed by Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Pharrell Williams, Charlize Theron, Taraji Henson, Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Williams, Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blige and Gabrielle Union.
The letter asks the Justice Department to examine whether a pattern of discrimination led to Henry’s killing. “If it did — deliver the justice that restores this young man’s name and reputation, while giving hope to other young black men who are just like him and desperate for change,” the missive states.
Henry’s father, Danroy Henry Sr., said the family was grateful for the support. “We appreciate that they’re sort of leaning into the moment and that they’re willing to stand behind us on this really important matter,” he said.
The deadly confrontation that left his son dead on Oct. 17, 2010, unfolded after Westchester cops responded to reports of a rowdy crowd outside Finnegan’s Grill, a popular hangout for Pace students.
Henry, 20, of Boston, was unarmed and in his car when an officer knocked on his window. Instead of stopping, police said, Henry pulled away, according to the Journal News.
Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess initially said he stepped in front of Henry’s car, which plowed into him, sending him onto the roof.
But the family’s attorney, Michael Sussman, said in civil filings that Henry was driving slowly when Hess lunged at the car and fired through the windshield, killing Henry and wounding his pal.
Another officer, Ronald Beckley, who discharged his weapon that night, told his supervisor he had fired at Hess, who he said was the aggressor, to stop him — but his statement was later altered.
The civil suit alleged that two other officers pulled the gravely injured student from his car, handcuffed him and left him on the ground to bleed to death.
A grand jury declined to indict Hess in 2011, and the US Attorney’s Office said in 2015 it would not bring federal charges against the officer.