NFL Player Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles presented a PSA that sheds light on the injustices and biases in the police system of America.
On Wed. [Nov. 6], Jenkins unveiled the PSA through the Players Coalition. The Players Coalition is an advocacy group that he co-founded along with NFL player Anquan Boldin. The PSA is based on the tragic death of Danroy “DJ” Henry, a football player who formerly played for Pace University before he was shot and killed by the police almost a decade ago.
The video goes back to Henry’s childhood and football memories with photos and visuals. The parents of the athlete were the narrators of the PSA and spoke on their late son’s dreams and journey before being gunned down inside of his car in Mount Pleasant, NY.
According to CBS Boston, the incident took place on Oct. 17, 2010, when Henry was leaving a bar with friends. Aaron Hess, the officer that ultimately killed Henry, alleged that he was almost mowed down by Henry’s car. The officer claimed that he ended up on Henry’s hood before fatally shooting Henry through his windshield and wounding one of the passengers.
Hess claimed he used his firearm because he was in fear of his life. However, Ronald Beckley, who was another officer on the scene, said he believed Hess was the provoker. Henry’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against officer Hess and the Village of Pleasantville. They settled for $6 million 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 PSA. “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 stated. “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.”
In addition, according to TMZ, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation has donated $1 million to promote the PSA.