Shoot a teen, get an award? That just might be the case if you work for the Pleasantville Police Department.
Officer Aaron Hess, who shot and killed 20-year-old Pace University student Danroy "D.J." Henry Jr. in New York last year, is being named Officer of the Year by the Police Benevolent Association. The Pleasantville Police department said it honored Hess for "his dignity and professionalism since the October shooting and throughout his career."
The family of the slain teen is far from happy about the recognition, calling it an arrogant and insensitive move by the Pleasantville police. "I'm glad the world gets to see the arrogance we've been dealing with since Oct. 17, from the district attorney's office all the way to the Police Benevolent Association,” said Angella Henry, Danroy Henry's mother. "Now everyone else is getting to see the kind of inhumane treatment we've gotten."
Danroy Henry was celebrating Pace University's homecoming on Oct. 17 when he was shot outside a bar in Pleasantville by Hess. Pleasantville police claim that Hess fired at Henry when the student drove into Hess and another officer after refusing to stop. However, some witnesses dispute that account. A grand jury failed to indict Hess on the shooting charges in February. The Henry family has since taken the case to the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether there were any civil rights crimes committed.
The Pleasantville Police Department claims that it had no intention of offending the family by granting Hess the award, but it's clear the police succeeded in doing so. Hess may have technically been cleared of these charges, but at the end of the day, a tragedy occurred.
To claim Hess is a hero for how he handled the botched situation is beyond insensitive. A family lost their loved one, and the Pleasantville police could have had more sense than to recognize this officer for essentially killing someone — regardless of whether or not it was considered protocol.
Read more at the Boston Globe.
In other news: Montel Williams' Drug Charges Dropped.