A Pace University quarterback appeared in a New York courtroom today to face mischief charges filed against him after his teammate, Easton native Danroy Henry Jr., was fatally shot by police outside a bar Oct. 17.
Joseph Romanick, 21, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief for allegedly shattering a large window at a Bagelworks restaurant on the night that Henry was killed. The restaurant is located within the Mount Pleasant, N.Y., strip mall where the incident occurred.
According to a police report, Romanick's back was against the window and he was talking with someone, apparently trying to calm the person down, when Romanick became "upset and was yelling."
Romanick then raised his hands, and pulled a hand back, with his elbow hitting the window. He was arrested standing next to the window. Romanick was released on personal recognizance and a hearing was slated for Nov. 4.
Earlier today, Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno publicly appealed for witnesses to come forward so they could be interviewed by police for what the chief has called an impartial investigation. Henry's family has hired a civil rights attorney and have said they want to know the "absolute truth'' of how Henry died.
Henry was a popular football player and junior at Pace who was shot while sitting in his car just after 1 a.m. Sunday as police reacted to a fight at a strip mall bar. Police say that Henry drove off in a car after police, responding to a disturbance outside a bar, tapped on his window. Police say Henry headed right toward Pleasantville Officer Aaron Hess. Hess fired and another officer also fired.
But witnesses have provided different accounts, saying Henry was following an officer’s order to move the car and that Hess jumped in front of the vehicle, drew his firearm, and ended up on the hood of the car because Henry did not have time to stop.
Henry was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Alagno said Wednesday that the autopsy has been completed, but he did not release its findings.
Lawyers for Henry’s family and for several witnesses who said they were brutalized have called for an independent investigation.
Alagno has said that his department has dedicated officers to the investigation, and independent investigators from New York State Police are involved in the probe. The Westchester County district attorney is also involved in the review, and Alagno said the investigation’s findings will be referred to a grand jury.
Alagno said in a statement released this morning that the investigation could last months. Physical evidence is being analyzed by the Westchester County Police Crime Scene Unit, and some evidence has been delivered to the Westchester County Department of Laboratories for forensic testing.
“Investigators dedicated exclusively to this investigation from the Mount Pleasant Police Department and the New York State Police continue to interview witnesses and secure all available evidence,” the chief said in a statement.
He added, “due to the large number of potential witnesses to be interviewed and the significant amount of forensic evidence that is to be analyzed, it is expected that the duration of this investigation will be at least several months.”
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