Danroy Henry's Parents Sue Officer Who Killed Son

Shooting is called an "unconscionable use of force."

Posted: 04/20/2011 12:53 PM EDT
Filed Under Danroy Henry

(Photo: Courtesy of Henry Family)

The parents of Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., the college football player shot and killed by a police officer last year, are suing the policeman, calling the shooting an "unconscionable use of force."

In their filing, Danroy Henry Sr. and Angella Henry say the officer violated the civil and constitutional rights of their son, Danroy Henry Jr., and demand compensation for their son's death and their suffering, according to the Associated Press.

"The pain of losing our son so suddenly is insatiable and not only has his absence changed us forever, but his suffering will always haunt us as well," said his parents.

Pleasantville, New York, Officer Aaron Hess was cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury in February. And he was recently honored as Officer of the Year by the Police Benevolent Association of the Pleasantville Police Department for his dignity and professionalism after the shooting.

Danroy Henry Jr., 20, was a college junior and played varsity defensive team for Pace University’s football team. In the early hours of Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010, Henry's life was cut short. Parked in a fire lane of a sports bar where a fight broke out, a witness account says that Henry stopped then accelerated as Hess stepped in front of the car. In the ensuing chaos, Henry was shot and killed as Hess fired into the car. Danroy Henry died at the scene.

In testimony, Hess has said he was hit by the car, thrown onto the hood and had to fire his gun to get the driver to stop.

In their complaint, the Henrys say the car was moving at a reasonable speed. They say Hess jumped in front of the car, "ascended" the hood and fired at their son for no good reason, writes the AP.The complaint calls the shooting "an unconscionable act, shocking to the judicial conscience and the sort of action which must be eliminated and deterred to preserve the values of a civilized society."

The lawsuit also names the village of Pleasantville as a defendant. It says the village contributed to Henry's death by failing to properly train and supervise Hess.

No specific amount of damages was listed in the complaint. However, in January, their lawyer said the Henrys would seek $120 million.

A New York grand jury decided not to indict any of the police officers involved in the shooting death of Henry, but the Department of Justice announced in February that it planned to open an investigation into the fatal shooting.

While the lawsuit alleges civil rights violations, there is no specific mention of race. Hess is white. Henry’s parents have previously refused to says the shooting was motivated by racial prejudice, writes the AP.