Sussman Claims Murder, Evidence Tampering
The Department of Justice said they are "monitoring" the DJ Henry case, while attorney Michael Sussman says evidence is inconsistent.
A day before the two month anniversary of Easton native DJ Henry's death, the former Oliver Ames football player's family has made progress in its efforts to see the federal government take over in the investigation of the death of their son, who was shot by Pleasantville, NY police officer, Aaron Hess on Oct. 17.
The Department of Justice sent a notice to Henry family attorney Michael Sussman Thursday to say that it is " monitoring the local investigation, and will, if appropriate, undertake an independent review of all of the available evidence to determine whether any federal, criminal civil rights laws have been violated."
According to Sussman, there have been a number of violations. The Civil Rights lawyer claims that blood alcohol content reports were tampered with. The lawyer said that, despite BAC levels being .13, gastric reports did not support the BAC results.
"What that gastric content means is there is no significant alcohol ingestion in a significant period at least five hours before," Sussman said. "In the period necessary to get what's shown in the BAC otherwise, you'd have to have gastric content much higher than exists. So, that's the problem; it's inconsistent. It's radically inconsistent. It's impossible."
While calling the reports inconsistent and alleging that they had been tampered with, Sussman also called Aaron Hess's shots at DJ Henry intentional. Sussman said ballistic reports showed Hess was two to two-and-a-half feet away from Henry when he fired his gun.
According to Sussman, after the first shot was fired, the second two, which killed Henry, were fired while he had curled up to avoid being shot.
"He fired in a way that shows that DJ Henry was curling in a way to get away from the first shot when the second and third shots were fired, and those shots were shots that killed him," Sussman said. "It appears to me from that evidence that this is nothing short of intentional murder. Period, the end."
The attorney pointed towards Thursday's court proceedings of four Pace University students in Westchester County who attempted to help Henry after he had been shot. Westchester County District Attorney Janet Difore represented the police in the proceedings.
"It's inconceivable to me that a person investigating could ethically and currently investigate the behavior of those she's prosecuting with," Sussman said. "It makes absolutely no sense."
The Henrys have been calling for a federal investigation since Oct. 25 when Sussman first filed a request to the Department of Justice. Sussman said today was the first response he had gotten from the Department of Justice. The lawyer said he also hopes outgoing New York Governor David A. Patterson will appoint an independent prosecutor.
The response from the Department of Justice came after a campaign conducted by the Henry family asking for a federal investigation. The Henrys asked others to write letters to the department, and hand-delivered letters themselves while meeting with Senators in Washington D.C.
Additionally, the Henrys gained support locally. The Easton Board of Selectmen agreed Monday to write a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation, and there will be a vigil Friday night at Serenade Park in Tanglewood Estates off of Foundry Street to recognize the two-month anniversary of Henry's death.
While the federal government has yet to step in and is still "monitoring", Sussman is confident that it will.
"I think they are going to investigate this case," Sussman said. "It may not be this week, but it's going to happen."