Rihanna, Jay-Z, Charlize Theron and other celebrities are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to examine the demise of 20-year-old Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., a Black soccer participant at Pace University killed by a white police officer in New York almost a decade in the past.
In a letter despatched this week to Attorney General William Barr, the entertainers say Henry, who was from Easton, Massachusetts, “misplaced his life for no good motive and with completely no good clarification.” The case stays an “unhealed wound” for Henry’s household and the folks of New York, they wrote.
“The DOJ should honestly decide whether or not a sample and/or observe of discrimination performed a job within the case of DJ Henry — and if it did — ship the justice that restores this younger man’s identify and status, whereas giving hope to other younger black males who’re similar to him and determined for change,” they wrote.
Others who signed the letter are Pharrell Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Odell Beckham Jr., Michael K. Williams, Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blige and Gabrielle Union.
An electronic mail looking for remark was despatched Friday to DOJ spokespeople.
Federal prosecutors within the Southern District of New York introduced in 2015 that they might not carry civil rights costs, saying a radical evaluate of proof didn’t present that Pleasantville officer Aaron Hess acted with deliberate and particular intent to break the regulation. The officer was beforehand cleared by a grand jury.
Hess shot Henry as Henry drove via a car parking zone, away from a disturbance that spilled out of a bar in October 2010 in Mount Pleasant, a New York City suburb.
Hess has mentioned Henry was making an attempt to run him down and that he fired via the windshield to cease the driving force.
The Henrys have mentioned Hess jumped entrance of the automobile, obtained onto the hood and shot their son for no good motive. Another officer, Ronald Beckley, shot at Hess, later saying he did so as a result of he believed Hess was “the aggressor.”
Prosecutors mentioned Henry’s automobile struck the officer and injured him earlier than Hess fired his weapon as he made “a cut up choice below circumstances of utmost hazard, circumstances below which the regulation typically permits latitude to a police officer’s judgment.”
The Henrys reached a $6 million settlement with the city and the officer.
The celebrities mentioned the info of the case “reek of native battle of curiosity, racial bias and even false testimony.”
“Justice, it seems, has been denied,” they wrote.
Henry’s father mentioned new info that has come out for the reason that prison case was closed warrants a reexamination of his son’s demise. He pointed to a number of witnesses who contradicted the police division’s preliminary account of what occurred, together with Beckley.
“We’re hoping that anybody who can reopen this may reopen it,” Danroy Henry Sr. informed The Associated Press on Friday. “All we’re asking for is what we requested for from the very starting — it’s only a truthful evaluate of the true proof, not form of a pretend presentation of a false narrative, which is all that we consider occurred to date right here.”
The elder Henry mentioned officers ought to reopen the case and shouldn’t await requires the household or others to take motion.
“That’s form of the outdated second,” he mentioned. “There’s a brand new second that’s emerged that requires them to be higher. That’s why persons are within the streets.”
Jay-Z has additionally referred to as for justice within the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was shot and killed as he ran via a Georgia neighborhood. The social justice arm of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation leisure firm in May referred to as on the state’s legal professional basic to appoint a particular prosecutor to assist obtain a good trial.