Village to Pay $6 Million Settlement in Death of Danroy Henry, College Football Player Shot by Cop Outside Bar

Danroy Henry, 20, was shot through the windshield of his car as he drove away from a disturbance outside a bar

The family of Danroy Henry, the Pace University football player shot and killed by a police officer who says he shot him in his moving car when he failed to stop, has accepted a $6 million settlement from the village of Pleasantville, New York, and the cop. 

"The Henrys have been clear from the beginning that no monetary settlement could ever replace the deep loss of their beloved son DJ," attorney Michael Sussman said in a statement disclosing the settlement. "While this aspect of their lawsuits has not been resolved, they will continue to deal with their deep loss by focusing on faith, family and the important work of the DJ Henry Dream Fund, which has provided opportunities for thousands of young people and will continue to do so." 

The settlement must still be approved by a judge. 

Parents Danroy and Angella Henry continue to sue the town of Mount Pleasant and officers from the town who they say failed to properly respond to Henry's gunshot wounds.

Aaron Hess, the Pleasantville officer who shot the Easton, Mass., resident, was earlier cleared by a grand jury. Henry was shot in his car as he drove through a parking lot away from a disturbance that spilled out of a bar on Homecoming Day on Oct. 18, 2010, hours after he played in a game. Henry, 20, was black; Officer Hess is white.

Angela Henry told NECN-TV the settlement wasn't cause for celebration. 

"There's no amount of money that would make this right for us," she said. "What we really wanted was some sort of indictment." 

Federal prosecutors announced last year they would not bring charges in the shooting death of Henry. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a release in April 2015 that a thorough review of evidence in the shooting did not show that a law enforcement officer acted with deliberate and specific intent to break the law.

"Neither accident, mistake, fear, negligence nor bad judgment is sufficient to establish a willful federal criminal civil rights violation," the release said.

Sussman said at the time the family was "extremely disappointed with the result."

Federal prosecutors said the officer shouted for Henry to stop and then stepped in front of Henry's car. They said there were inconsistencies in witness accounts, but that it appeared Henry's car was braking when it struck the officer, who wound up on the car's roof. The officer then fired through the car's windshield, wounding one passenger and killing Henry, the government said.

Prosecutors cited several factors weighing against criminal charges. They said the altercation took seconds, with no prior interaction between the officer and Henry, and that the car struck the officer and injured him before the officer fired his weapon as he made "a split decision under conditions of extreme danger, conditions under which the law generally allows latitude to a police officer's judgment."

"While portions of isolated testimony from certain of the witnesses at the scene might suggest that the Pleasantville officer acted with bad intent, there is not enough consistent, credible witness testimony to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer acted with the requisite willfulness to deprive Mr. Henry of his constitutional rights," prosecutors said.

"Finally, although racial animus need not be shown to establish a deprivation of rights under color of law, the evidence indicated that because of the darkness, the glare of the headlights and streetlamps, and the condensation on the windows, the Pleasantville officer would in all likelihood not have been able to see who the driver was or the driver's race," they added.

The Henrys have disputed the officers' account of the incident.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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