It’s almost as if the police in New York are actually seeking out bad press.
A cop who shot and killed a college student last fall is being given an award from a police union for officer of the year.
The Polcie Benevolent Association of the Pleasantville Police Department has awarded Officer Aaron Hess with its annual “Policeman of the Year” award just months after he stood trial for fatally shooting Danroy Henry Jr., a student at Pace University, in the New York City suburbs.
Henry, who hailed from Easton, Massachusetts, was driving away from a brawl that had started in a bar in near campus after Pace’s homecoming game. As he drove away Officer Hess fired at his car killing him.
Hess says that he fired at Henry’s car after Henry used the vehicle to hit him. Though he had leg injuries, some witnesses at the scenes disputed Hess’ claim saying that Henry was driving away from the scene, not towards the officer. Hess’ lawyer John Grant claimed that, “Based on the manner in which he was driving, it was clear to Aaron Hess that he had no intention of stopping and that it was a threat to his life and the lives of everyone in his path. He had no other alternative to stop the threat.”
Autopsy results showed that Henry, 20-years-old, was above the legal limit for alcohol. His family said that he was not drunk.
At his trial in February, Officer Hess was cleared of any criminal wrong doing by a Westchester County grand jury in February. By giving him the award, the Pleasantville Police Department said they were simply honoring Officer Hess for his dignity since the shooting last October and for maintaining professionalism throughout his career.
The family of the slain student said they were hurt by news of the award, especially given the last few months. In a statement, the student’s father, Danroy Henry Sr., “We simply asked for truth and honesty, and we’ve gotten arrogance. Some people see themselves above the law and above simple human dignity.”
In the face of public backlash at Hess’ award, the Pleasantville Police Department said they in no way meant to offend the Henry’s. The family says planning to sue the village of Pleasantville for $120 million dollars.
Putting it plainly, family lawyer, Michael Sussman said, “They’re offended.”