Officer Aaron Hess has filed a lawsuit against , the establishment he believes knowingly sold alcohol to underage student Danroy "DJ" Henry on Oct. 16, 2010, the night before he was shot and killed by Hess in Thornwood.
"We have done our own investigation," said Mitchell Baker, the White Plains attorney representing Hess. "We determined Mr. Henry obtained the liquor from this liquor store."
According to Baker, the suit is based on the Dram Shop Act, which provides "that if you sell liquor to someone illegally and that person who is later intoxicated creates injury to someone else, the person who was injured can bring a lawsuit against the person who sold the liquor."
He said he believes the night's events could have turned out differently if Henry had not been intoxicated and holds the Briarcliff Manor store accountable for the night's tragic outcome.
While initial lab results at the time of his death (above the legal limit of .02 for anyone under age 21), Henry family attorney and have claimed they do not believe he was drunk.
"If this suit is about DJ is being drunk, that is where you get a false premise," said Danroy Henry Sr., DJ's father. "We know the autopsy confirmed that DJ wasn’t drunk. If they’re filing this suit based on some false premise that DJ was drunk, it’s really a non-starter because DJ wasn’t drunk—the autopsy confirmed it."
Baker went on to explain the lawsuit is directed at Briarcliff Wines & Liquors rather than Finnegan's Bar & Grill—the now defunct establishment where Henry spent his last hours—because he believes Henry did not drink at Finnegan's, but rather sporadically went outside to his car during his time at the bar and ingested alcohol there before returning inside.
However, after the shooting, Henry family attorney Michael Sussman said in DJ Henry's Nissan and continued to refute the claim Henry was intoxicated.
"Those are the two pieces that are the least forgeable, they’re the least changeable," Henry Sr. said. "You can write whatever number you want, but in theory you can’t add content to the stomach and you can’t add content to the digestive system. There was no alcohol in the digestive system—zero—trace amount of it in his stomach—which is consistent with what people said they saw him do. He had a part of a drink in the evening and didn’t drink anything after that because he was driving."
Hess was hit by the car driven by Henry at the scene and suffered several broken bones in his knee as a result, said Baker. His kneecap also "went into his femur" as a result of the hit, which has prevented him from returning to work in Pleasantville.
"It does not look at the present time he will be able to return to police work," Baker revealed, adding Hess has been rehabilitating at his Chappaqua home since being released from the hospital.
Pleasantville and Mount Pleasant police officers responded to the Thornwood Shopping Center in the early morning hours of Oct. 17, 2010 to aid Finnegan's in dispersing a crowd. Henry while behind the wheel of a car.
Earlier this year, a Westchester County Hess on a murder charge in the case, while Sussman has . He later announced the Henry family is suing Hess and the Village of Pleasantville for $120 million.
Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer previously stated the village finds the lawsuit "is without merit."
"We intend to vigorously defend the Village and Officer Aaron Hess," his statement in response to the lawsuit reads.
Hess by members of the Pleasantville Police Benevolent Association.
Baker said the lawsuit against Briarcliff Wine & Liquors, which does not list a specific amount of damages sought, was filed through the New York secretary of state on Friday afternoon and was served this morning.
No one was available for comment at Briarcliff Wine & Liquors, which is closed on Mondays. Henry family attorney Michael Sussman was not available for comment.