(NECN: Westchester County, N.Y.) - A Westchester County grand jury has found insufficient evidence to issue any indictments in the death of Pace University student Danroy Henry of Easton, Mass. last october.
In a statement today, the Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said after interviews of more than 400 people by investigators, grand jurors did not find criminal charges warranted against any of the police officers involved in the shooting of Henry, including the officer who filed the fatal shot.
In a statement released by the Henry family, the family said it would contonue to push for a federal probe into the investigation itself, charging that investigators either withheld or mishandled evidence that would have led to charges.
More on this story tonight on NECN and NECN.com - the D.A.'s statement and the Henry family statement are below.
STATEMENT BY WESTCHESTER COUNTY
DISTRICT ATTORNEY JANET DIFIORE
REGARDING AN OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING
IN THE TOWN OF MOUNT PLEASANT
ON OCTOBER 17TH, 2010
A Westchester County grand jury has completed its investigation into the tragic shooting death of Danroy Henry, Jr., during the early morning hours of October 17, 2010 at the Thornwood Shopping Center in the Town of Mount Pleasant, New York.
Immediately after the shooting an investigation began into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Henry’s death. As part of the investigation, more than 400 people were interviewed by Investigators in New York and elsewhere, including as far away as Florida. Numerous items of physical evidence were collected from the scene and forensically analyzed by experts in ballistics, toxicology, accident reconstruction, DNA and trace evidence.
The investigation was conducted by four law enforcement agencies: the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, including the District Attorney’s Investigators in the High Technology Unit, the New York State Police, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety’s Forensic Identification Unit, and the Mount Pleasant Police Department. Also participating in the investigation was the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research.
Following an exhaustive and thorough review of the evidence, the grand jury, which began hearing testimony on January 10, 2011, has concluded its investigation. Pursuant to an order of the Westchester County Court that empanelled the grand jury sitting in this matter, the following is the only information that is permitted to be disclosed by law:
• The grand jury heard testimony from 85 witnesses.
• Of those witnesses, 46 civilians, many of whom were Pace University students and were present in the shopping center at the time of the shooting, testified as to what they witnessed at the time of the incident. The two passengers who were with Mr. Henry in his car at the time of the shooting also testified.
• Police personnel who testified included four police officers who responded to the initial call of a disturbance at Finnegan’s bar and who were present at the time of the shooting. Also testifying was the police officer who fired the fatal bullets. He testified without the protection of immunity from prosecution. A second police officer who discharged his weapon at the scene also testified and he, too, testified without the protection of immunity from prosecution.
• In addition to those referenced above, three civilians including a family member testified as to their contacts with Mr. Henry prior to the incident that resulted in his death.
• The grand jury also heard testimony from: (1) three emergency medical personnel who rendered treatment at the scene to Mr. Henry, the front seat passenger in Mr. Henry’s car and the police officer; (2) the emergency room physician who rendered treatment at the Westchester County Medical Center to Mr. Henry, the front seat passenger and the police officer, (3) the Westchester County Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy on Mr. Henry, and (4) the surgeon who treated the police officer who fired the fatal shots.
• More than 100 exhibits were admitted into evidence before the grand jury. Included among these exhibits were diagrams, photographs, aerial photographs, medical records, phone records, ballistics evidence, police radio transmissions, and physical evidence collected from the scene. Video recordings taken by a civilian witness, surveillance film secured from two commercial establishments located in the shopping center, and a video recording from a police vehicle responding to the scene that captured some of the events at issue were played before the grand jury.
• As to physical evidence, there was testimony from additional police officers in connection with the collection and introduction of evidence. A ballistics expert and two accident reconstruction experts, one of whom was a civilian witness, testified. There was also testimony from six forensic scientists from the Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research, where the forensic examination of Mr. Henry’s automobile as well as other physical evidence took place. The scientists included experts in toxicology, DNA and trace evidence.
• After due deliberation on the evidence presented in this matter, the grand jury found that there was no reasonable cause to vote an indictment.
I would like to thank the 23 citizens of this County who comprised the Grand Jury for their service, for the time and effort they devoted to this investigation and for the careful manner in which they discharged their solemn duty.
STATEMENT FROM THE HENRY FAMILY
There are no words to express our disappointment in the grand jury's
decision to issue a no true bill in the case of our son's killing. While
losing DJ has been tragic for our family, a compounding tragedy is the
reality that this grand jury result is most certainly the result of a
process not designed to tell the truth but, rather, to minimize the civil
and criminal liability of agencies involved in his death.
An investigation led by a police department employing one of the officers,
working very closely with the department employing our son's killer and a
District Attorney DiFiorie and her office more concerned about keeping us
shielded from the truth yielded an outcome we predicted. We have no choice
but to believe that evidence was either withheld or mishandled during the
grand jury proceedings. That ADA Murphy would tell us that the grand jury
would not indict if
Hess testified and was credible is beyond us. Conclusions appear to have
bee drawn at the outset and the
entire process appears now to have been nothing short of an attempt to
create better optics for the DA and her office.
We now respectfully ask the US DOJ to act in
accordance with their statement relating to these very proceedings. This
process is most analogous to a person committing a crime which their
siblings investigate and for which their closest relatives determine their
punishment. All the while the crime victim is left in the dark until the
family decides how it handle the misdeed of their own. Should we expect the
conclusion to be fair and impartial?
We also hope that both NY Governor Cuomo and NY Attorney General Shneiderman
intercede for the good of their citizens who live in this county without the
assurance they should have in the integrity of the people entrusted with the
care and safekeeping of our constitution. Truth should not be so elusive
when it is the very foundation of our justice system.
There is only one truth about what led to our son's death and we believe a
review of the actual evidence would have led to an indictment. What was
gathered and what was presented to the grand jury is not known, but the
outcome suggests that it fell far short of being effective and far short of
absolute truth! We will NOT stop until Mr. Hess is held accountable for the
killing of our beloved DJ.
No citizen should accept a murder committed by anyone, certainly not a
murder committed by a person sworn to protect the public good.