Judge Refuses Danroy Henry Family Request for Evidence

The District Attorney has argued that the evidence cannot be released while a grand jury is convened

By Alice Mcquillan and Michael Clancy
|  Friday, Nov 12, 2010  |  Updated 10:09 PM EDT
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Judge Refuses Danroy Henry Family Request for Evidence

Danroy Henry, was a junior at the suburban Westchester County campus. He was a varsity defensive football player there and was from Easton, Mass.

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 A judge has refused to release 911 calls and other evidence to the parents of a college football player who was shot and killed by New York police.

The judge found that the family of Pace University student had failed to establish a legal right to the evidence. 

Danroy Henry of Easton, Mass., was killed in his car on Oct. 17 during a disturbance outside a bar in Thornwood, N.Y. Police said the 20-year-old sped away and hit two officers. Some witnesses dispute that account.

Prosecutors had argued that evidence must be kept secret until it is laid out before a grand jury. The parents' lawyer, Michael Sussman, said recordings would help them learn what happened.

Sussman, said in court that 911 recordings and surveillance footage would help the parents learn what happened to their son and would help them decide whether to sue. He said he would be willing not to make them public.

In his decision, dated Tuesday but made public Friday, state Supreme Court Justice Orazio Bellantoni did not specifically address grand jury secrecy. He said any request for early release of evidence must be supported by an affidavit from "someone with firsthand knowledge of the facts." He said Sussman's argument was instead based on "facts either told to or read by him."

Earlier this week, Danroy and Angella Henry, of Easton, Mass., visited the office of Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore after attending a hearing on their request to see some of the evidence investigators have gathered.

Danroy Henry carried a Bible into court. Angella Henry wore large buttons bearing photos of their son

Sussman has called for a federal investigation, alleging that the district attorney's office is "too cozy" with the police forces involved in the killing.

After the meeting with the district attorney earlier this week, Sussman said that "The family and I continue to believe there needs to be a full investigation by federal authorities. That does not represent personal distrust of the district attorney. It represents a view that there is simply too much institutional intermingling to allow for a fair and impartial investigation."

Neither he nor the district attorney's office would discuss what was said at the meeting. The Henrys left without talking to reporters.

In court, Sussman argued for access to 911 calls, surveillance videos and other recordings relevant to the shooting and said he was willing to keep secret whatever was disclosed to the Henrys. He said the Henrys have "a compelling interest" in learning what happened to their son.

But Assistant District Attorney Steven Bender said a grand jury investigation is under way and no evidence should be disclosed in advance.

 

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