Malcolm Jenkins has unveiled a powerful video that shines more light on the biases and injustices within our police system.
On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles star launched the PSA through the Player's Coalition, an advocacy group he co-founded alongside former NFL athlete Anquan Boldin. The PSA highlights the tragic death of Danroy "DJ" Henry, a former Pace University football player who was fatally shot by police nine years ago.
The video includes photos and videos of Henry throughout his childhood and college days. His parents narrate the PSA, recalling their son's character, dreams, and aspirations before he was gunned down inside his vehicle in Mount Pleasant, New York. According to CBS Boston, the shooting occurred on Oct. 17, 2010, when Henry and his friends were leaving a bar. Aaron Hess, the officer who shot Henry, said the man was driving toward him and wouldn't stop. The officer allegedly ended up on the hood, and fired shots through the windshield, killing Henry and wounding one of the passengers.
Hess said he opened fire because he feared for his life; Ronald Beckley, another officer who was on the scene, claimed he believed Hess was the aggressor. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Village of Pleasantville and Hess; they accepted a $6 million settlement in 2016.
"I'm so grateful for the other police officer who came forward and told the truth, because it did change the narrative and people were able to see that there was an injustice," Henry's mother, Angella Henry said in the video. She went on to say, "Never in a million years would we have thought that this would've happened to us. And it continues to happen to so many other families. One of the most important things that we can do as a community is to have better communication, better love and better respect for people. I don't want to assume that all police officers are bad, and I don't want people to assume all young black men are bad. I miss him, tremendously."
This is the first of multiple PSAs the Players Coalition will premiere over the next few weeks. The PSAs will highlight other stories about victims of gun violence and police brutality.
"We have a responsibility to use our platforms to unite people and foster positive change in our communities, but we can’t achieve that goal without education," Jenkins said in a statement. "We want this PSA to generate productive dialogue between people of all backgrounds, so we can start to bridge the communication gap and work together to end these injustices."