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Hess Questioned in Federal Court

DJ Henry family's attorney questioned the Pleasantville police officer today.

Officer Aaron Hess appeared in federal court in White Plains for the first time to give a deposition in the civil lawsuit filed against him by the family of Danroy "DJ" Henry.

"It's the first time we heard his story told by him," said Danroy Henry Sr., DJ's father, who was present for the proceedings today with his wife, Angella.

Michael Sussman, the attorney representing Henry's parents in a civil lawsuit against Hess, as well as the Village of Pleasantville and Town of Mount Pleasant, questioned the police officer—who has not been active since the shooting—today.

Sussman spoke about the case on Friday, when he stated, "...it’s very, very important that we understand from his perspective what he did, and what he didn’t do, and why he did what he did."

Henry by Hess in the Thornwood Shopping Center in the early morning hours of Oct. 17, 2010. He was a 20-year-old student at the time.

While the today's proceedings were not public, the parties involved in the cases spoke with the media outside the courthouse this evening.

Brian Sokoloff, Hess' lawyer, declined to give specifics on what the proceedings entailed over the several hours today.

"It's not fair to the process to give a quick sound bite of what was discussed," he said at what became an ad hoc press conference Tuesday afternoon. "It was hours. We started in the morning, into the afternoon. How could I possibly shed light on, in 10 seconds, on what was discussed?”

A Westchester County grand jury last year.

Bonita Zelman, the attorney for the current and former Pace University students related to the shooting death, was also present today.

"My thoughts are that we will get justice in this case. We just have to keep fighting for it," she said, "that there are so many inconsistencies and illegalities that he committed, including jumping in front of a moving vehicle with his gun drawn and shooting into a car full of unarmed innocent students who committed no wrongdoing.”

Sussman said the depositions will not continue this week, though Zelman said she will have a chance to question Hess at a later date.

She and Sussman have said they will make the deposition transcript public.

Said Danroy Henry, "We’re just trying to make sure that his death isn’t, doesn’t go without some, some prosecutorial penalty.”

Mike A August 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM
the parents should let it go.There kid screwed up and paid the ultamite price.Now the parents want a BIG PAY DAY typical it's all about the money
Geoff August 15, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Mike -- I think I would go easy on the parents. They lost a kid. As almost any parent would tell you, there Is no amount of money that can take that hurt away. As to the substance of the case, I really don't know. I wouldn't want a police officer to hold back from defending himself because of fear of a lawsuit. But I also wouldn't want an officer to use deadly force unnecessarily. I wasn't there, and I would guess you weren't either, so we really don't what happened. Hopefully, the evidence will come out at trial, and the jury will render its verdict.
JJ August 16, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Tragic? YES. Preventable? YES. The evidence will be played over and over again but it's always the same conclusion that this Officer was defending himself. Has anyone forgotten that he sustained serious injuries during this incident? Looking to blame someone other than the young man here? How about starting with his "so called friends" who allowed him behind the wheel AFTER he consumed large quantities of alcohol. What about the young man himself? Tragic , yes but it was preventable.

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