Protests continue in Hamden for the fourth day in response to an officer-involved shooting
By: Caitlin Fish
Protestors from Hamden and New Haven are continuing to march for Stephanie Washington, a 22-year-old woman who was shot and put in the hospital by Hamden and Yale Police officers.
Protestors are demanding that the investigation of the officer-involved shooting be transparent, that the officers involved, Devin Eaton and Terrence Pollock, be immediately fired and that all body and dash cam footage be released to the public.
Hundreds of Hamden and New Haven residents gathered in front of Hamden Police Department Friday, April 19 as protests continue for the fourth day following a string of protests that began three days prior.
Protestors met at Hamden Plaza where they marched up Dixwell Avenue, about 1.6 miles, to Hamden PD to protest the Hamden and Yale PD officers’ shooting that put Stephanie Washington in the hospital.
This protest is a follow up to the one that happened in New Haven on Thursday night, which lasted from 5 p.m. until midnight.
Protestors shut down several streets, first marching from Elm Street to College Street and then lingering at the intersection of College and Crown Street. New Haven Police blocked traffic from the site and rerouted cars around it. Police closed Exit 1 off of I-91 South to keep vehicles away from protestors.
Gabby Veron, a 21-year-old Yale student said that she protested all night and will continue to march against police brutality.
“We have to recognize the act of violence that was committed by police against a young black woman in our community,” Veron said. “I’m here tonight to make it known that we will not accept this, we cannot turn a blind eye and we want answers.”
Hamden Officer Devin Eaton and Yale Officer Terrence Pollick fired 12 rounds into a vehicle of which Washington was a passenger of.
Washington did not suffer life-threatening injuries and continues to recover in a local hospital, while the driver, 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon, was not wounded, according to an article by ABC News,
The article states that the shooting unfolded after Hamden police responded to a call of an attempted armed robbery at a gas station in Hamden. Officers Eaton and Pollock blocked the vehicle that Washington and Witherspoon were in because it matched the description of the one leaving the scene.
Footage from a nearby surveillance camera, obtained by WTNH-TV, shows Officer Eaton jumping out of his vehicle and firing rounds into the driver's side window.
Protests first started to break out on Tuesday, as dozens of community members and Black Lives Matter protestors rallied outside the Hamden Police Department, according to an article by NBC Connecticut. On Wednesday protestors gathered outside the house of Yale President Peter Salovey.
“I write this evening to assure you that Yale will cooperate fully in the investigation that the Connecticut State Police and the State’s Attorney’s Office are conducting, Salovey said in a statement issued Wednesday. “when they have finished, and we can have access to the evidence, we will also conduct our own investigation into this matter. As the primary investigation proceeds, we will share whatever information we can as quickly as we can about the circumstances of the shooting.”
In response, New Haven and Hamden mayors and police chiefs addressed the officer-involved shooting at a press conference on Wednesday night.
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said she believes the incident is unacceptable, According to an article by WNPR,
“This incident portrays police activity gone horribly wrong," Harp said at the press conference Wednesday. "And now Stephanie as well as many residents, her family, her friends, must live with the consequences and the resulting uncertainty of what was by every definition an unacceptable response.”
The article said Hamden Mayor, Curt B. Leng, said the state needs to complete the investigation to ensure justice is done.
"If there’s any resident or business that has any information regarding this incident, whether they’ve seen something, heard something, or most importantly, possibly, if they have any video evidence — please bring it forward," Leng said.