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Family of DJ Henry files wrongful death suit against detaining officers


BOSTON (FOX 25 / The family of DJ Henry has decided to file a second civil suit against two officers who detained the Pace University student on the night that he was killed.

Attorney Michael Sussman held a conference call with several media outlets on Wednesday to explain the new complaint. Sussman says discovery in the case led to the decision.

The new suit has been filed against Mount Pleasant, Pleasantville Officer Kevin Gilmartin, who is now a police sergeant, and Mount Pleasant Police Officer Ronald Gagnon.

Attorney Sussman maintains that after Aaron Hess shot into DJ Henry's car, Officer Gagnon rushed to the car door and pulled out the 20-year-old. Gilmartin then proceeded to handcuff Henry, who was reportedly standing on his own power. The officers then moved him several feet and placed him face down on the sidewalk. Gilmartin walked over to Hess as Gagnon stood over Henry. At the time, Henry was alive and breathing.

Sussman claims that neither officer did anything to get Henry immediate medical attention on that night in October 2010. He feels that the sequence of events contributed to Henry's demise. The attorney adds that Gilmartin is a trained paramedic and never asked Henry how and where he was injured.

Sussman also says that he did not want to dilute the claims made against Hess with any other claims, but that the other officers' alleged recklessness warranted their inclusion.

During the call, Sussman reiterated the importance of the deposition given by Officer Ronald Beckley. Beckley, a former Mount Pleasant Officer, has said that he shot at Officer Hess after believing he was the aggressor and not realizing that he was a police officer. Sussman highlighted that Beckley is a 30-year veteran of the force and "saw fit to shoot for the first time in his career." He feels that action means more than any other account from the night.

Sussman also says that while he is not an expert, the uniform Hess was wearing on the night of Henry's death has a tear at the knee which appears to have a center that could be from a gunshot. This is the same area that Beckley indicated a bullet had gone through.

The Henry family's first complaint was made against Pleasantville and Aaron Hess. Compensatory damages cannot be sought in two cases as there was only one death. Sussman says this new lawsuit was filed in hopes of seeking justice. He says the Henry family is working, as they have been for two years, to seek truth.

To read the full complaint, click here.