Rihanna and JAY-Z are among the list of celebrities who are demanding justice for the 2010 fatal shooting of Danroy “DJ” Henry, a Black Pace University student who was shot and killed by a white cop.
According to Page Six, they have sent a signed letter to US Attorney General William Barr urging the Justice Department to reopen Henry’s case and explore the possibility of police misconduct. “The facts support this request, the law all but requires it, and justice — it demands it,” reads the letter signed by JAY-Z, Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Odell Beckham Jr., Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Mary J. Blige and more.
The memorandum also asks the Justice Department to explore whether or not a pattern of discrimination contributed to Henry’s death. “The DOJ must truthfully determine whether a pattern and/or practice of discrimination played a role in the case of DJ Henry — and if it did — deliver the justice that restores this young man’s name and reputation, while giving hope to other young Black men who are just like him and desperate for change,” the letter states.
Danroy Henry Sr., Henry’s father, says that he and the family are grateful for their support. “We appreciate that they’re sort of leaning into the moment and that they’re willing to stand behind us on this really important matter,” he said.
Back in Oct. 2017, Henry was shot and killed by Pleasantville police officer Aaron Hess outside of Finnegan’s Grill in New York. He was unarmed in his car when Hess walked up to his window and knocked on it. Instead of stopping, police claim Henry tried to drive off.
Hess says the vehicle plowed into him when he stepped in front of it and he ended up on the hood of the car. Michael Sussman, the family’s attorney, says Henry was driving slowly when Hess lunged at the car and opened fire through the windshield, killing Henry and injuring one of his friends.
The family’s civil suit states that two other officers pulled an injured Henry from his car, handcuffed him and left him on the ground as he bled to death. The family received a settlement and an apology from the town, but Hess was never criminally charged.