Boston (August 4, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today called federal Department of Justice officials and officials in New York state to conduct a renewed, thorough, and transparent investigation into the death of Danroy “DJ” Henry, Jr. On October 17, 2010, DJ, then a 20-year-old junior and football player at Pace University, was fatally shot by Mount Pleasant New York Police Department Officer Aaron Hess. In his letter, Senator Markey argues that new evidence that has emerged in the years since DJ’s killing demands the re-opening of the case and a closer examination of the murder. First, Officer Ronald Beckley, a second member of the Mount Pleasant police force who was present at DJ’s shooting and deposed in 2012 in the civil ligation, contradicted Officer Hess’s claim that DJ instigated the confrontation leading to his death. Second, the public apology and acknowledgment that the Town of Mount Pleasant had not told the truth came years after the local police department had presented its story of DJ’s acting aggressively on the night of his death to the grand jury investigating Officer Hess for misconduct.
“These two pieces of new evidence raise additional questions about the accuracy of the official police account of the case. Already, the circumstances surrounding the shooting called into serious question the assertion that the use of force against DJ — especially fatal force — was at all warranted or justifiable,” writes Senator Markey in the letter. “In light of these facts and principles, I strongly urge each of you to utilize your respective powers as law enforcement officials to re-open DJ’s case to ensure that justice is done for the Henry family.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Senator Markey sent the letter today to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss, New York Attorney General Letitia James, and Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr.
In 2014, Senator Markey joined other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation in calling on then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a comprehensive review of DJ’s death. Since then, all the official inquiries into this shooting have ended, including a federal investigation of potential civil rights violations, a local investigation of police misconduct, and related civil litigation.