New Haven Mayor Toni Harp called an incident Tuesday in which a woman was shot and injured by police "unacceptable." Hamden police identified one of the officers involved in the shooting as Devin Eaton. He’s been in law enforcement for almost five years. Eaton reportedly started in New Haven before joining the Hamden police department. An officer with the Yale Police Department who was also present has not been named.
Harp says she’s spoken with the family of the woman, identified as 22-year-old Stephanie Washington, and with their attorney. According to Harp, Washington is “resting well.”
“This incident portrays police activity gone horribly wrong," said Harp at a press conference Wednesday. "And now Stephanie as well as many residents, her family, her friends, must live with the consequences and resulting uncertainty of what was by every definition an unacceptable response.”
Officials say Washington was shot while she was a passenger in a car in the Dixwell Avenue area of New Haven. Police were firing shots at the driver, who was suspected in an armed robbery in neighboring Hamden.
Authorities say the driver, who was not injured, was taken into custody but later released.
The incident caused outrage from community members who demanded more information about what happened. Many took to the streets in a peaceful march Wednesday evening, marking a second night of protest over the incident.
“We’ve gained a lot of strides in the city of New Haven particularly in community policing and community police relations," said New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes. "Incidents like these erode the trust community has in its police department. And it doesn’t matter that it happened by another police officer. In this profession when one officer in any state does anything it impacts the image of policing everywhere. That’s what’s unique about this profession.”
Hamden Mayor Curt Leng says the state needs to complete the investigation in order to ensure that justice is done. In the meantime, Leng made a personal plea.
"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 if forward," he said.
Going forward, city and town leaders say they’re working on a standardized framework when police activity spills over to a neighboring jurisdiction.