NEW YORK – The family of a college football player who was fatally shot by a suburban New York police officer who fired into his moving car reached a $6 million settlement with the village of Pleasantville and the officer, an attorney said Monday.
Michael Sussman, who represents the family of Danroy Henry Jr., announced the settlement in a statement.
"The Henrys have been clear from the beginning that no monetary settlement could ever replace the deep loss of their beloved son DJ," Sussman said. "While this aspect of their lawsuits has now been resolved, they will continue to deal with their deep loss by focusing on faith, family and the important work of the DJ Henry Dream Fund, which has provided opportunities for thousands of young people and will continue to do so."
Aaron Hess, the Pleasantville officer who shot the Pace University student from Easton, Massachusetts, was cleared by a grand jury. The U.S. Attorney's office also declined to bring federal civil rights charges in the shooting.
Henry was shot in his car as he drove through a parking lot away from a disturbance that spilled out of a bar on Homecoming Day. Henry was black; Officer Hess is white.
Prosecutors said the officer shouted for Henry to stop and then stepped in front of Henry's car. They said there were inconsistencies in witness accounts, but that it appeared Henry's car was braking when it struck the officer, who wound up on the car's roof. The officer then fired through the car's windshield, wounding one passenger and killing Henry, the government said.
Prosecutors cited several factors weighing against criminal charges. They said the altercation took seconds, with no prior interaction between the officer and Henry, and that the car struck the officer and injured him before the officer fired his weapon as he made "a split decision under conditions of extreme danger, conditions under which the law generally allows latitude to a police officer's judgment."
At the time, Sussman said the family was "extremely disappointed with the result."
The Henrys continue to sue the town of Mount Pleasant and three town officers who they say "failed to respond to the grievous gunshot wounds inflicted by Mr. Hess upon their son," Sussman said.
The settlement must still be approved by a judge.
A telephone message left with the village of Pleasantville wasn't immediately returned.