Family skeptical of police account of NY shooting

Family skeptical of police account of NY shooting

Published October 20, 2010

THORNWOOD, N.Y. (AP) -- Relatives of a Pace University football player who was shot and killed by police said Tuesday they are skeptical of official accounts of the shooting and have hired a civil rights lawyer.

"While we had been assured of an objective investigation, we are deeply troubled by the various and conflicting accounts," the Henry family of Easton, Mass., said in a statement. "We are simply seeking the truth about the actions of anyone who participated in the killing of our son."

Danroy Henry, 20, was shot to death by officers who fired through the windshield of his Nissan Altima. The police had been called to a disturbance that spilled out of Finnegan's Grill in Thornwood, about 25 miles north of New York City and 1 1/2 miles from Pace's campus.

The circumstances of the shooting early Sunday, a few hours after the homecoming game, have been in dispute. Police say Henry sped off, hitting two officers, after a policeman knocked on his car window. The father of a passenger denies an officer was hit and claims Henry thought he was following police instructions.

The family's new lawyer, Michael Sussman, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that "every account we have gotten is contrary to what police have told the press, so yes, there is skepticism."

He said he was hired to "discover where the fault lies, if anywhere" and take appropriate action, which could include legal filings.

Sussman was a lawyer with the NAACP on a successful case in Yonkers that was the first to link segregation in schools to segregation in low-income housing.

Earlier Tuesday, Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore spoke with Henry's father, Danroy Henry Sr., "as a parent and as a D.A." and told him the investigation would be thorough and would take time, her spokesman, Lucian Chalfen said.

She told reporters Tuesday morning that she would get to the bottom of the case.

"We never rush to judgment," she said. "In the end we will learn about the exact circumstances and events that led to the tragic death of that young man."

Two police departments said Tuesday that four of Henry's teammates were arrested, and one of them was subdued with a stun gun, in the chaos after the shooting.

One of the teammates broke a storefront window, Mount Pleasant police Chief Louis Alagno said. The other three wouldn't move away from the shooting scene and were interfering with medical aid, Westchester County police spokesman Kieran O'Leary said.

Amateur video from after the shooting appears to show an unruly crowd, with people screaming and someone trying to revive a person on the ground.

On the Pace campus in Pleasantville, school officials prepared to rent buses to take students to Henry's funeral in Massachusetts, said spokeswoman Cara Cea. Arrangements had not been made public.

"It seems like the outpouring is just tremendous here," Cea said.

A call to the Henry family home was answered Tuesday by a recording asking people who knew Danroy Henry "to let everybody you know, tell every single person, how much of an influence Danny had on you or the good things he did and the person he was. Just let everyone know he's not the kind of person that they're going to try to make him out to be."

Alagno said Joseph Romanick, of Slidell, La., was charged with third-degree criminal mischief after breaking a window in the shopping center containing the bar. O'Leary said Daniel Parker, of Lauderhill, Fla.; Joseph Garcia, of Floral Park; and Yves Delpeche, of Brooklyn, were charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction.

Parker and Delpeche also were charged with resisting arrest, and Delpeche had to be subdued with a stun gun, O'Leary said. All are 22 and were released pending a Nov. 4 court appearance. Police had no information about their lawyers.

Alagno said 14 investigators were devoted to the case Tuesday - four from the Mount Pleasant force and 10 from the state police.

"They are actively seeking leads and interviewing individuals at several locations," the chief said.

Without elaborating, he said some forensic evidence was being processed and analyzed. The chief said none of the officers involved had ever had brutality complaints.

The officers who fired at the car have been identified as Pleasantville Officer Aaron Hess and Mount Pleasant Officer Ronald Beckley.


Associated Press Writer Jay Lindsay contributed to this report from Boston.

Written by <P class="ap-story-p">By JIM FITZGERALD, Associated Press Writer</P>


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