Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty, Pharrell Williams and many others have signed a letter that calls on the Department of Justice to investigate the death of Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr. The letter urges federal authorities to reopen the case and look into possible police misconduct.
“DJ, a young Black youth with a bright future ahead of him, was killed for no apparent reason inside his own vehicle,” the letter states.
“The facts support this request, the law all but requires it, and justice — it demands it,” the letter states.
After learning of the letter, Henry’s father, Danroy Henry Sr., applauded the celebrity group 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.
DJ Henry’s family has waited ten years for justice. They shouldn’t have to wait one more day.
— Joe Kennedy III (@joekennedy) July 15, 2020
Henry Jr. was shot and killed on October 17, 2020 while at a sports bar celebrating with his teammates. Police arrived at the sports bar after receiving a call that a fight had taken place. When authorities arrived at the scene, Henry Jr.’s car was reportedly parked in a fire lane and he was asked to move it. From that point on, conflicting reports account for what happened next.
Initial reports indicated that the unarmed college student sped toward officer Aaron Hess after being asked to move his car. Hess was then propelled upon the front hood of the car. Fearing for his safety, Hess says he fired into the car. He has maintained that race was not a factor in his decision to shoot.
Jay-Z, Rihanna and Pharrell Williams are among the list of celebrities calling on the U.S. DOJ to investigate the death of Danroy ‘DJ’ Henry who was killed by police in 2010.
— Getty Images Entertainment (@GettyVIP) July 14, 2020
New reports find that fellow officer Ronald Beckley gave a statement that directly contradicts the original story. Beckley’s statement indicates that Hess was the aggressor in the situation and that he climbed on top of the car willingly. Finding that Hess was the aggressor in the matter, he fired at the officer.
“I was shooting at a person that I thought was the aggressor and was inflicting deadly physical force on another,” Beckley said.
Adding on to Beckley’s account, Henry Jr.’s friend, Brandon Cox, was in the car at the time of his death. He has maintained that his friend was attempting to move from the fire lane as he was asked to when he was killed.
In the wake of his death, Henry Jr.’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against Hess. They have also launched to DJ Henry Dream Fund to provide scholarships for youth to participate in athletics, arts and summer camps.