What we know: Police-involved shooting in New Haven – New Haven Register

What we know: Police-involved shooting in New Haven - New Haven Register

New video shows Hamden officer fired shots first at unarmed couple

A slightly enhanced screenshot of the video posted by Fox 61 that shows another angle of the police-involved shooting in New Haven, Conn. This new footage was posted by the news organization on Friday, April 19, 2019. The non-fatal shooting took place on Tuesday, April 16.

A slightly enhanced screenshot of the video posted by Fox 61 that shows another angle of the police-involved shooting in New Haven, Conn. This new footage was posted by the news organization on Friday, April

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Newly-obtained video of New Haven shooting shows Yale officer firing

A slightly enhanced screenshot of the video posted by Fox 61 that shows another angle of the police-involved shooting in New Haven, Conn. This new footage was posted by the news organization on Friday, April 19, 2019. The non-fatal shooting took place on Tuesday, April 16.

Video: VIDEO: Protests continue following police-involved shooting in New Haven

A slightly enhanced screenshot of the video posted by Fox 61 that shows another angle of the police-involved shooting in New Haven, Conn. This new footage was posted by the news organization on Friday, April

A Hamden police officer and one from Yale University opened fire on a vehicle stopped near Dixwell Avenue and Argyle Street in New Haven around 4:20 a.m. on April 16. Stephanie Washington, a 22-year-old unarmed black woman, was wounded in the shooting.

As state police have investigated the shooting, hundreds of protestors have flocked to locations in Hamden and New Haven, holding “Black Lives Matter” signs and demanding for authorities to release body-camera footage of the incident.

Washington’s boyfriend, 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon, drove the car that was sprayed with bullets.

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Witherspoon was not injured, but Washington was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

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Video: Protestors gathered at Yale University to protest in response to officer-involved shooting.

Hamden police identified their officer as Devin Eaton, who has been with the department for three years and was previously a New Haven cop for two years.

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A university statement identified the Yale officer involved as Terrance Pollock, who has been with the department for 16 years.

“This is about working together and trying to make meaningful change moving forward,” Leng said. “We can’t take away what happened. What happened was horrific but we can work together moving forward and I think there’s real dedication to doing that. The items put forward today are steps in that direction and only positive things can come from it and we can build a better police force, a better town, build a stronger force working together.”

Black Lives Matters protesters demand answers after Black woman shot by Yale police officer

According to a report from WTNH, Pollock was injured by a ricochet bullet from either his own weapon, or from Eaton’s gun.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp emphasized Tuesday that no New Haven officers were involved except to investigate the scene.

According to a release from state police, Hamden police were investigating a report of an armed robbery at the Gas and Go station on Arch Street. Eaton and Pollock identified a vehicle near Argyle Street and Dixwell Avenue in New Haven they believed was involved in the robbery.

Rev. Boise Kimber, center, flanked by Hamden Acting Police Chief John Cappiello, left, and Hamden Mayor Curt Leng addresses the media outside the Hamden Government Center Friday after a meeting between the town officials and local clergy concerning the recent shooting by a Hamden police officer.

Yale’s statement, however, describes the lead-up to the shooting slightly differently, mentioning a 911 call about a driver with a gun. “Around 4:15 a.m. on the morning of April 16, a Yale police officer patrolling campus in the Science Park area responded to a call to assist a Hamden police officer. The Hamden police officer appears to have been looking for a vehicle based on a 911 call reporting that a person driving the vehicle had a gun,” the statement said.

WTNH reported that Witherspoon, who police say was a suspect in the robbery, was later released from custody and has not been charged.

In a press conference, Trooper Josue Dolerus said the officers fired after the driver of the vehicle — later identified as Witherspoon — “exited the vehicle in an abrupt manner,” failing to comply with instructions to step out of the vehicle peacefully and show his hands.

But in a surveillance video published by WTNH, no one is seen exiting the vehicle. Though the driver’s side of the car is not fully visible in the video, the Hamden officer appears to bring his car to a stop, get out, cross to the passenger-side of the vehicle and fire his weapon.

Throughout the course of the night, the crowd grew to 500 students and community members, who joined together in a nonviolent protest in solidarity with Washington and Witherspoon. Attendees spoke, sang, chanted and passed around food as they sat and stood at street intersections from 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. As a result of the protests, the New Haven Police Department, who was not involved in Tuesdays shooting, blocked the surrounding areas off to all traffic into the night.

Dolerus also said no firearms were found inside Witherspoon’s vehicle, though he noted authorities had not yet conducted a thorough search at the time of the press conference.

There is a larger context of state-sanctioned violence that we are in, Kerry Ellington, a People Against Police Brutality community organizer, told the rallys attendees early in the afternoon as they gathered on Wall Street outside of Woodbridge Hall. [Washington and Witherspoon] did absolutely nothing wrong. And even if they did do something wrong, it still wouldnt be cause for deprivation of their rights. Why is it okay?

Fox 61 and WTNH have since released more surveillance footage of the incident. The videos show the Yale officer firing his gun.

Authorities affiliated with Yale, Hamden and New Haven have all reiterated that the state attorneys office is conducting an investigation into the shooting. But over the past three days, protestors demanded immediate actions from the University. Ellington and other organizers called for Pollocks firing, a fair and thorough investigation from the state and the release of all relevant camera footage — including body camera footage.

Activists have demanded the release of the body-camera footage of the incident. In a news release on Thursday, Capt. Ronald Smith said the Hamden Police Department “cannot release any video and/or audio recording” related to the shooting, at the request of State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin.

According to University spokesperson Tom Conroy, Pollock has been placed on administrative leave. The Hamden police officer has also been placed on leave pending the investigations outcome, according to acting Hamden Police Chief John Cappiello. But community members have demanded that Pollack be fired or placed on unpaid leave while the investigation is ongoing, citing the abundance of witness videos demonstrating impropriety.

But the next day, Commissioner James C. Rovella of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection announced that authorities expect to soon release the body-camera footage.

As the protesters moved and occupied each successive location, NHPD squad cars blocked off streets, and NHPD officers patrolled the crowds. At approximately 11 p.m., in an attempt to contain the protest — which at this point had grown to around 500 people — the NHPD created a barrier of police cars on George Street. The protestors had to weave between the cars one-by-one before congregating again on the other side.

Since the shooting, hundreds have come out to protests, criticizing police violence toward people of color. Activists have demanded justice for Washington, asking that relevant footage be released, that the officers involved be fired and that the investigation be transparent.

Video: VIDEO: Protests to continue following officer-involved shooting in New Haven

“Police violence is a crisis in our state,” community organizer Kerry Ellington said at one protest.

Rev. Boise Kimber of First Cavalry Baptist Church has expressed outrage about the shooting and has also questioned why a Hamden officer crossed into New Haven without notifying the city’s police department.

“We come today to say that we’re certainly going to be watching this incident, on top of this incident and praying that this family, this young lady, certainly recover — a terrible incident,” Kimber said at a protest on Thursday. “It is sad. It is upsetting; it is hurtful to see that kind of shooting taking place when no one shot at them, no one tried to run, there are no guns in the car — I mean, what is this?”

Another local pastor, Rev. Scott Marks, attended Thursday’s protest. He led attendees in a chant of “Black Lives Matter.”

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“Every day of our lives, we’re pushing that all lives actually move forward,” said Marks, questioning whether Hamden police had followed proper procedure. “There needs to be a price paid for breaking those policies, because black lives do matter.”

Hamden Acting Police Chief John Cappiello announced that an internal affairs investigation would be conducted, though he declined to comment on why Eaton crossed city lines.

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Hamden is also set to enact changes to its police department. Religious leaders met Friday with Cappiello and Hamden Mayor Curt Leng to discuss those changes.

Rev. Kimber, who attended the meeting, said Hamden has agreed to work on a written policy to notify New Haven when officers enter that district. While this is already practice for Hamden, Cappiello said having it in writing will provide more clarity for officers about who they’re supposed to notify.

Kimber said the Hamden Police Department agreed to hold urban trauma training and de-escalation training. Going forward, religious leaders, the mayor and the police chief will also meet regularly, Kimber said.

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In a statement issued after the meeting, Leng expressed support for department improvements and said he planned to post updates.

Yale, Hamden officers involved in New Haven shooting identified by their departments

“I am also so very thankful that we have public safety officials in our police and fire services that will not only accept important changes, but embrace them, if they are for the betterment of our community.”

Yale President Peter Salovey released a letter announcing the university is cooperating with the state investigation.

Anyone with information about the incident can contact the Connecticut State Police at 860-685-8190. Callers can remain anonymous.


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