Friend fears for D.J. Henry's rep

Updated: November 18, 2010, 6:06 PM ET
Associated Press

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- The best friend of a college football player shot and killed in his car by police said Thursday that he doesn't want his pal's reputation to be sullied after his death.

Apparently referring to a high alcohol level found in Danroy "D.J." Henry Jr.'s blood at his autopsy, Brandon Cox said, "I don't want his name to be tarnished."

Cox, of Easton, Mass., then went on to extol Henry as loyal, dedicated, loving and "more like a brother to me, not just a friend."

"My world has been turned upside down" by Henry's death, Cox said. "There have been no easy days."

Henry, 20, was killed -- and Cox, sitting next to him in the car, was wounded -- during a disturbance outside a bar in the New York City suburb of Thornwood, near the Pace University campus. Henry, known as D.J., had just played in Pace's homecoming game; Cox, a friend since high school, had played against him for Stonehill College.

Police have said the Pace University student sped away and hit two officers after a third officer knocked on his car window. Cox, 20, and other witnesses dispute that account, and a Westchester County grand jury investigation is under way.

Cox, his mother, Donna Parks, and his stepfather, Tom Parks, spoke outside a pizza restaurant in Pleasantville where the two families had a meal together hours before the Oct. 17 shooting.

"We did not know that that was going to be the last time we saw D.J.," said Donna Parks, who wore a button picturing Henry and spoke through tears.

The Parkses and their lawyer Charles Ogletree announced their support of the Henry family's demand for a federal investigation.

In a telephone news conference later, Henry's father, Danroy Henry Sr., said he and his wife, Angella Henry, met Thursday morning in Washington with Massachusetts' U.S. Sens. Scott Brown and John Kerry to press their case for a federal investigation.

Brown issued a statement afterward saying, "I believe we owe it to all the parties involved to give the grand jury time to complete its work. In the meantime, my office will continue to monitor the case to make sure that a fair and thorough investigation is carried out."

Danroy Henry said he and his wife also met with representatives of New York's U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. He said all the meetings were "productive and helpful."

In addition, they were able to leave a letter for Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, although they were not allowed entry, he said.

At the Pleasantville news conference, Tom Parks said investigators from the office of District Attorney Janet DiFiore visited his family in Easton on Wednesday and "Brandon cooperated fully with them. We have absolutely nothing to hide."

Neither Cox nor his parents would discuss what was said to the investigators. They declined to answer questions.

Parks said, "We still have a serious measure of skepticism" that the district attorney can fairly investigate police departments that work with her. "We are asking that the Justice Department get involved," he added.

He said a news leak of Henry's blood alcohol level -- 0.13, well above the legal driving limit of 0.08 -- was evidence that investigators "can't be objective and impartial."

Officers from the Pleasantville and Mount Pleasantville forces fired at the car, police say.

Ogletree described Henry's and Cox's families as "the quintessential Huxtables," a reference to Bill Cosby's TV sitcom family. He said they were "driving their kids to do well."

Cox said he and Henry had had aspirations to travel the world.

"Now we can't do that together," he said.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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