Officers that were involved in the shooting of an unarmed woman and man have been placed on leave.
This past Tuesday, two police officers opened fire on a 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon III and his 22-year-old girlfriend, Stephanie Washington, in New Haven, Connecticut. The incident did not involve New Haven police; instead, it included one officer from Hamden and the other from Yale Police Department. The two have been identified as Officer Devin Eaton (Hamden) and Terrance Pollock, a 16-year veteran of the Yale department, both of whom have been placed on leave.
Police say the two officers suspected the car was involved in a robbery of a newspaper delivery carrier in Hamden that they were investigating. According to State Police, “the suspected party exited the vehicle in an abrupt manner and turned toward officers.” While surveillance footage does not show the movements of the couple, witnesses say they saw police telling the man and woman to exit the car after they stopped shooting.
In the video, you can see Eaton walk to the right rear of the vehicle as he fired into the car, while Pollock, who isn’t seen in the video, fired multiple shots from the front of the vehicle. It appears the two officers were firing in each other’s direction, which, in turn, left Pollock with injury. Pollock was then taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.
The woman, Stephanie Washington, was in the front passenger seat of the car when she was shot. However, there is no information on which officer shot her. Washington is currently hospitalized and in stable condition, while Witherspoon, who was driving the car, was not injured in the shooting.
Now, protesters are demanding the officers be fired, and that the body-cam footage be released. A police department representative said Yale officers have citywide jurisdiction.
“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; 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,” Salovey wrote in a statement posted on Yale’s website Wednesday.
“It is vitally important that we refrain from making assumptions about the circumstances of the shooting: the facts of this case will be made clear through the investigation,” Salovey wrote in a statement online.