Rihanna, Jay-Z demand DOJ reopen case of college student killed by cop

Danroy 'DJ' Henry was an unarmed Pace University junior who was fatally shot by a white Westchester cop in 2010.

Rihanna and Jay Z (Credit: Getty Images)

Jay -Z and Rihanna have just joined the list of celebrities and activists calling on the Department of Justice to do a probe into the death of an unarmed Black Pace University student who was fatally shot in 2010.

According to The Jasmine Brand, Monday, a letter was sent to the US Attorney General William Barr, strongly urging the DOJ to reopen the case of Danroy “DJ” Henry’s killing and investigate the very real possibility that police misconduct took place.  The two superstars signed Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.

thegrio.com Danroy DJ Henry
(Credit: DJ Henry Dream Fund)

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On Oct. 17, 2010, Westchester cops responded to reports of a rowdy crowd outside Finnegan’s Grill, which is a popular hangout for Pace students. Henry, who was was unarmed and in his car, slowly pulled away when he was approached by police.

In response, Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess lunged at the car and fired through the windshield, killing Henry and wounding his companion. Hess has never been charged in Henry’s death.

“The facts support this request, the law all but requires it, and justice — it demands it,” read the message.

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In an effort to compel the court to take the request seriously, the correspondence was also signed by several high profile celebrities like Pharrell Williams, Charlize Theron, Taraji Henson, Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Williams, Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blige, and Gabrielle Union.  

The letter also brings into question if systemic racism played a part in Henry’s killing, noting, “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.”

“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,” the victim’s father, Danroy Henry Sr. said in response to the outpouring of support.

In 2016, Henry’s family settled with the Village of Pleasantville for $6 million over the shooting.

“The Henrys have been clear from the beginning that no monetary settlement could ever replace the deep loss of their beloved son D. J.,” the family’s lawyer, Michael H. Sussman said in a statement at a time. “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 D. J. Henry Dream Fund.”

Angella and Danroy Henry Sr. settled their final suit a year later with the Town of Mount Pleasant. They were given an apology and a commitment to make a $250,000 contribution to the DJ Henry Dream Fund.

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