MANHATTAN (CN) – Nine friends of Pace University football star Danroy Henry Jr., whom police shot to death after a homecoming game party, have filed federal lawsuits claiming police assaulted, Tasered and arrested them for trying to help their friend as he bled to death.
In an April lawsuit, Henry’s parents said Pleasantville police Officer Aaron Hess jumped onto the hood of their son’s car and shot him through the windshield for no reason.
Two other students, Desmond Hinds and Brandon Cox, were in the car with him, but were not killed.
A grand jury refused to indict Hess, apparently believing the officer’s claims that he shot Henry for ignoring his order to stop.
In a 37-page complaint, the late football star’s 22-year-old friend Joseph Garcia says that Hess assumed “a two hand hold combat stance as he began firing into the car full of students,” and that Henry “slumped in the seat in a pool of blood.”
Cox was shot in the left arm, and two bullets barely missed Hinds, Garcia says.
He says Henry was still alive, but police “handcuffed him behind his back and left him bleeding to death on the pavement.”
Garcia says police also brutalized Hinds and Cox, and denied them medical attention.
“The shooting and brutality was lawless and without basis, since the African-American young men were following police instructions to leave a fire lane, when defendant Hess jumped in front of a moving car and then he and defendant Ronald Beckley intentionally and deliberately started shooting into a car full of students,” the complaint states.
Police officers told Henry’s friends to “Get the f k back,” according to the complaint. (Epithet abbreviated in complaint.)
Garcia says the police brutalized him for trying to stand between a group of officers who were pointing Tasers and a gun at his friend Yves Dalpeche, who has filed a similar lawsuit.
“He tried to walk in front of Yves Delpeche to protect him and about three to four police officers violently slammed his head, hand and body into a brick wall and he was Tasered in the lower back,” the complaint states. “The whole left side of his body was slammed into the brick wall. He could hear students screaming in fear. He was handcuffed behind his back. He felt police officers punching him about the upper back. He was in shock and fearing for his life. The handcuffs were put on too tight and he was thrown in the back of a police car.”
Police jailed him and prosecuted him on bogus charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, Garcia says.
Other students tell similar stories in their federal complaints.
“This is one of nine related lawsuits brought on behalf of college students who attempted to aid their friend OJ Henry after he was shot by defendant Hess and who were brutalized, some Tasered and beaten, falsely arrested, maliciously prosecuted and/or threatened with the use of deadly physical force on October 17, 2010 by various members of different responding police forces including the police departments of defendant-municipalities,” according to a summary in Garcia’s complaint.
Defendants include Westchester County; Pleasantville, N.Y.; Mt. Pleasant, N.Y.; and police Officers Aaron Hess, George Longworth, Anthony Chiarlitti, Louis Alagno, Ronald Beckley, Ronald Gagnon, Brian Bosan, and Russell Lowenstein.
Attorney Bonita Zelman, of Lake Success, represents at least five of the plaintiffs, including Daniel Parker, Rebecca Gallo, Martin LaRoche, Yves Delpeche and Joseph Garcia.