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Charges Against Henry's Peers Dismissed; Attorney Files Notice of Claim

Town Justice Robert Ponzini said he believes the men to be innocent.

"You leave here as the day you came in," Mount Pleasant Town Justice Robert Ponzini told one former and three current Pace University students today. "Without a criminal record."

Yves Delpeche, Joseph Garcia, Joseph Romanick and Daniel Parker had all charges brought against them the morning of Danroy "DJ" Henry's death dismissed against them today.

The charges being reviewed were:

Daniel Parker and Yves Delpeche: Resisting Arrest, Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the Second Degree and Disorderly Conduct, misdemeanors.

Joseph Garcia: Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the Second Degree and Disorderly Conduct.

Joseph Romanick: two counts of Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, also misdemeanors.

The Westchester District Attorney's office the charges on March 9 and today, Ponzini said, "I've given this a fair amount of thought," before announcing his decision.

Many in the courtroom applauded as Ponzini revealed he felt the students are innocent.

"Today was a great victory for us and for the public," said Bonita Zelman, the men's attorney.

In a statement, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said, "I agree that this determination, the dismissal of charges by the Court, is in the interest of justice."

Michael Hagan, President of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Inc., said the organization, "is disappointed with the District Attorney’s decision to follow through with the dismissal of all charges," in a statement today.

He stated, "Pace University students were drunk and disorderly long before the first officers arrived on the scene...There is no excuse for any member of society to disregard the lawful orders of a police officer, let alone fight with those police officers who are trying to affect an arrest and restore order."

DiFore added, "While I understand the disappointment expressed by the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Police Benevolent Association, and have stated that there is no legal excuse for the failure of these four young men to abide by lawful directives of the police, given the unique and extraordinary circumstances that unfolded that morning, the spirit of justice was served with the dismissal of the charges."

Hagan, however, said he takes issue with the actions of the students, who "have never filed a formal complaint, they were more interested in filing a notice of claim."

Zelman said she has filed a notice of claim against the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, as well as the and Mount Pleasant Police Departments. She would not divulge the exact amount of damages she is seeking on behalf of her clients, but stated it was a seven-digit figure.

She said the civil lawsuit is, "for assault and battery and brutality."

Expanded Zelman, "They tasered two of my clients. One of my clients was tasered twice in the abdomen."

Hagan called the notice of claim "shameless," and stated it "should be a great cause for concern for all us all."

"In the end," he said, "the taxpayers are exposed to a liability for an incident where alcohol fueled, disorderly individuals are not held accountable for their actions."

Zelman also revealed the cell phone video footage that was previously released to the media of the Oct. 17 events was analyzed by an expert and edited for clarity (see attached video). The volumn was also enhanced. That video, along with still frames from the video, was given to Ponzini to review before making his decision.

Zelman further stated the next step for the lawsuit will involve obtaining copies of video surveillance from stores near Finnegan's Grill, as well as video taken by a police cruiser at the scene.

When the Pace students addressed the press outside of the courtroom, they said they were "relieved" the case was over, but would keep fighting in the Henrys' quest for justice.

Desmond Hinds, who was in the back seat of the vehicle when Henry was shot, as well as Angella Henry, DJ's mother, also spoke about the continued struggle.

"One chapter of your life is closed," Ponzini told the men. "You should go forward with a clean slate."

Patriot March 24, 2011 at 05:03 PM
So it's ok to Resist Arrest, Obstruct Governmental Administration in the Second Degree and engage in Disorderly Conduct in the Town of Mt. Pleasent, and your lawyer can get the charges dropped by threatening a civil lawsuit. Rebuttals ?
tom March 24, 2011 at 07:23 PM
You have it backwards. Dismissing the charges helps her lawsuit. She now can say that the police brutilized them even though legally they didn't do anything wrong. It's why the DA's statement was worded as it is basically saying that the 4 are guilty, but justice is better served by dropping the charges because of the trauma they went through and their youth, etc. So, yeah, maybe if your buddy is lying on the ground bleeding to death and no one is giving him CPR and you want to, you can resist arrest and get aay with it.
Patriot March 24, 2011 at 07:43 PM
How did breaking windows and destroying property help their wounded buddy? Lets not forget that if Danroy had listened to the police, he would be alive today. These kids acted as if they were above the law at the scene, and then when interviewed, they lied about what happened and were caught in those lies. Now, the charges have been dropped, because the town is in damage control. I don't know why the town is in damage control mode because the police officer on the hood (with a shattered knee afer he was hit) was acting in self defense. Don't pedestrians have the right of way, isn't illegal to hit someone with your car and continue to drive with them on your hood, especially while DWI? Bottom line, do what the police tell you to when they tell you. The beauty of our justice system is that you can go to court afterwards and seek justice. Every American has an obligation to follow the law- Period. Again, this is a very sad case, but the law is the law.
LASHONDA JOHNSON March 24, 2011 at 09:37 PM
You people on here make me sick, all yall must be racist white bastard. The evidence from the you tube videos of that night, and medical evidence shows that first of all DJ wasnt drunk, secondly those cops killed him for no reason. He was following one officers orders and Aaron Hess ran out in the front of his moving car already aiming his gun at the boys. He jumped out so quickly DJ didnt have time to react or stop. But if he was in so much danger after he was hit he wouldnt have been able to jump on the hood, aim his gun and shoot three accurate close range shots at DJ. Mind you the officer didnt yell stop, slow down, freeze or nothing before opening fire isnt that usually protocal. Not only that but if your friend is shot, bleeding, handcuffed, and lying face down on the ground wouldnt you do everything you could to help them and react violently if you werent allowed too!
Patriot March 24, 2011 at 10:01 PM
1, I am not a racist- never mentioned anyone's race. 2, He was drunk, toxicology reports from 2 seperate labs determined the same BAC. 3, Aron Hess was yelling at him to stop as were all of the other police officers. 4, No, I would never act violently with the police, I would walk away and call the state police and tell them whats happening, and how the locals shot and were not treating my friend. 5, "You people on here make me sick, all yall must be racist white bastard." Who is the racist??? - White bastard???
Robert Solari March 24, 2011 at 10:27 PM
JMD you are 100% RIGHT!
Patriot March 24, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Thanks Robert.
Mike March 25, 2011 at 02:16 PM
LaShonda and her ilk live by their own rules. That is why DanRoy died. Because of their victim mentality and refusal to listen to the "man."
BOB I March 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM
jdm,robert,and mike right on.
Rich March 26, 2011 at 02:32 PM
DA Janet DiFore has officially lost her mind! I am shocked at her decision to dismiss the charges on anyone she states is guilty, BUT... suffered enough. Take away the pressure of a good kid, Danroy, who made a bad decision leading to his death, due to his underage drinking, BAL level and potential DWI arrest. Would DA DiFore have allowed, much less be involved in, the decision to dismiss these charges if under other circumstances of stand alone events? Politics and our legal system at it's finest! Just another misstep to really encourage the Thin Blue Line to do their job to the fullest extent of their ability and personal risk. My family and I thank every Police Officer for doing such a difficult job, making split second decisions that will be Monday night quarterbacked by people like DiFore and Judge "Idiot" and protecting us from the predators (no I am NOT referring to Danroy as a predator, this is a general statement for people like LaSonda who follow the Al Sharpton school of reason). Continued-
Rich March 26, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Continued- Shame on you Janet DiFore and Judge "Idiot"!!! You have allowed the Law Enforcement Community to take many steps backward, allowed the Municipalities to now have to spend huge amounts of money to defend this dismissal of criminal charges in the Civil Court arena. You have both allowed the bottom feeder now Plaintiff's (instead of Defendants) Civil Attorney and the guilty parties (as you stated) now waste tax dollars and allow them to collect huge sums for being guilty. Janet, you certainly lost my vote and everyone I can think of for your politically stupid decision!!!
Brian Helpern March 28, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Ya' know, this isn't Iraq folks...

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