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Slain player's kin: NY police account misleading

Slain player's kin: NY police account misleading

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) The first police account of an officer's fatal shooting of a college football player was purposely misleading and served as a faulty ``script'' for the investigation, a lawyer for the student's parents said Thursday.

The lawyer, Michael Sussman, alleged that the district attorney's office was in on the deception. And he said the episode demonstrated the need for a special state prosecutor's office to investigate every time police use deadly force.

``No one in the public should have any confidence'' that district attorneys can fairly investigate the police departments they work with, Sussman said at a news conference.

He said his claims were based on ``shocking details'' in depositions he has taken during a federal lawsuit filed by the parents of Danroy Henry Jr., the victim in the 2010 shooting.

Henry, 20, of Easton, Mass., was shot through the windshield of his car as he drove away from a disturbance outside a bar in Thornwood, N.Y. Earlier in the day, he had played for Pace University's football team on Homecoming Day.

The Pleasantville police officer who shot him, Aaron Hess, said Henry was driving toward him and wouldn't stop. He fired from the hood of Henry's car.

Another officer, Ronald Beckley of the Mount Pleasant police force, also fired. But Beckley said in his deposition that he was firing at the person on the hood, not knowing it was Hess and believing it was ``the aggressor.''

Both officers testified before a grand jury and were cleared of wrongdoing. Hess is among those being sued by the Henrys.

Sussman alleged Thursday that Beckley's depiction of Hess as the aggressor was known within hours to Mount Pleasant police Chief Louis Alagno, the chief investigator, and to the district attorney's office.

Alagno's press release the next day, however, depicted Beckley as shooting at the car, not at the officer on the hood.

That was ``a knowingly false statement by a person who is still a police chief,'' Sussman said. He suggested it should have disqualified Alagno from running the investigation.

In his deposition, Alagno said he did not include what Beckley said because ``it was information we would present to the grand jury.'' His lawyer, Carl Sandel, said Thursday that he could not comment on an active lawsuit.

Sussman said the district attorney's office did nothing to set the record straight.

He said the early account meant investigators ``have a script. ... The script shows a decision to protect the police.''

It's not clear, however, that Alagno's early account affected the investigation as a whole.

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for District Attorney Janet DiFiore, noted that Beckley testified before the grand jury that cleared him and Hess. DiFiore said at the time that the investigation was ``exhaustive and thorough,'' a sentiment repeated by Chalfen on Thursday.

Henry's father, Danroy Henry Sr., spoke briefly at the news conference. He said what he's heard from witnesses during the lawsuit adds to his doubts about an autopsy finding that his son's blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit for driving. The family has always denied that D.J. was drunk.

Sussman said he still has 50 or 60 depositions to take. If the case goes to trial, he said, it would likely be in 2014.

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Lamar Jackson limited while Mark Andrews and Ronnie Stanley miss Monday practice

Lamar Jackson limited while Mark Andrews and Ronnie Stanley miss Monday practice

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Three days after the Ravens practiced with all 53 members of the active roster, there’s now legitimate injury concerns for the AFC’s top team. 

Tight end Mark Andrews and left tackle Ronnie Stanley both missed practice with a knee injury and a concussion, respectively, whlie Lamar Jackson was a limited participant with an elbow injury. The team will have just two more days to prepare for kickoff against the Jets, a little over 72 hours after the team’s first practice of the week. 

The most notable injury, however, was Jackson’s absence. 

“We’ll see,” coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson’s practice availability this week. “It’s less than 24 hours after the game, it’s hard to say. It’s not a serious injury in that sense. This is day-to-day when we play Thursday night, so we’ll see where we’re at.”

Harbaugh declined to share more about the specific injury to Jackson. 

When asked about Stanley’s concussion, he also declined to share more about the team’s injuries. 

“I’m not going to get into injuries, we just got done playing the game 24 hours ago,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to play a game Thursday night. The guys that are ready to play will play. The guys that aren’t won’t. So just look at the injury report and take it from there.”

While it’s promising that Jackson was just a limited participant, the absences of Andrews and Stanley — and special teamers Anthony Levine and Chris Board — are far more worrisome. 

Stanley has missed just a handful of snaps this season, and played in 100 percent of the snaps against the Bills. 

Andrews played just nine snaps, as a knee injury kept him out of the lineup for the majority of Sunday’s game. 

Should neither of the four that missed practiced be able to go, the Ravens will have to replace their starting left tackle, leading pass-catcher and two special teams starters in short time.

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Anthony Rendon’s future appears set following Stephen Strasburg deal

Anthony Rendon’s future appears set following Stephen Strasburg deal

SAN DIEGO -- On the stage Monday at the Winter Meetings, two key components of Anthony Rendon’s future chatted before the television’s red camera light popped on.

Mike Rizzo and agent Scott Boras passed a final 30 seconds before showtime with small talk, then addressed the first bombastic signing of the Winter Meetings: Stephen Strasburg is returning to the Washington Nationals on a seven-year, $245 million deal. This, for all intents and purposes, ends Rendon’s time with the organization. 

The math creates a crunch. Rizzo tried to maneuver around the reality when on the dais next to Boras, but the reality is Washington does not want to surpass the competitive balance tax, it does not want to blow out payroll, and it has little wiggle room. Rendon moving on is the now an anchor in the offseason.

Washington operates with a big payroll and pocket-lining approach. A seeming dichotomy. It spends just to the edge. Then, it stops. Not too far to go over the tax. Not too far to appear reckless. But always far enough to say, correctly, the organization is a willing spender, a point Rizzo leaned on when asked about Rendon’s future Monday.

“You look at the history of the Nationals and the way we've positioned ourselves and the details of the contract and the way that it's structured, this ownership group has never shied away from putting the resources together to field a championship-caliber club,” Rizzo said. “I don't see them in any way hindering us from going after the elite players in the game.

“I think that Anthony Rendon is, again, one of the players that is most near and dear to my heart, a guy we've drafted, signed, developed, watched turn into a superstar, playoff success, and a huge part of the world championship run that we went on. So he's a guy that we love.

“The ownership has always given us the resources to field a great team, and we're always trying to win, and we're going to continue to do so.”

That is a 141-word non-answer. 

Washington’s managing principal owner Mark Lerner did not help Rizzo’s position before the Winter Meetings by stating the team could bring back only Rendon or Strasburg -- not both. 

“He did?” Rizzo joked. 

He did. Which, naturally, makes reporters curious about the correlation between a statement from ownership and Rizzo’s operating capacity.

“Well, when you look at those comments, and then you look at the structure of this particular deal and the structure of deals we've had getting up to where we are right now, I think Mark realizes that there's ways to fit players in, there's ways that you can field a championship-caliber roster -- and, again, the resources have always been there, so I don't expect that to change,” Rizzo said.

Here, he hopped into the idea Strasburg’s deferred money -- reportedly $80 million to be paid out within three years of the contract’s expiration -- suggesting the manipulation of those numbers keeps Rendon in play for the organization. It’s not enough. Not based on how the Nationals allocate and spend.

Which means they chose. Strasburg or Rendon. They could only have one, and they signed the homegrown pitcher and thanked Rendon for his time.

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