Protesters Call On Yale, Hamden Police To Fire Officers Who Wounded Car Passenger | Connecticut Public Radio
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Protesters Call On Yale, Hamden Police To Fire Officers Who Wounded Car Passenger

Apr 18, 2019

Community organizers are demanding action following the officer-involved shooting earlier this week that put a New Haven woman in the hospital with a gunshot wound.

The protesters want the officers who shot at Stephanie Washington, 22, and the driver of the car Paul Witherspoon, to be fired.

“If a police officer committed a crime, they should be brought up on charges directly and made to prove their innocence and held to the same standard as regular people,” said Kerry Ellington, who organized the protest.

Protesters chanted and delivered speeches through a megaphone as they stood in numbers outside of the office of the president at Yale University. The Tuesday morning incident involved an officer from the Yale Police Department, Trevor Pollock, and Hamden officer Devin Eaton.

Officials said Washington was shot while she was a passenger in a car that was believed to be involved in an armed robbery in neighboring Hamden. Police stopped the car in the Dixwell Avenue area of New Haven where they fired numerous shots.

Police have said that no weapons were found in the car driven by Witherspoon. He was taken into custody after the shooting, but later released without being charged.

Hundreds gathered to protest on Thursday, April 18 outside Woodbridge Hall on the campus of Yale University. Many protesters wanted the two police officers involved with the shooting to be fired.
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Ellington, the community organizer, also called for video of the incident from police body and dash cameras to be released.

She urged everyone at the rally to raise a hand if they’d seen footage of the shooting from a nearby surveillance public that was made public. Hands went up in unison.

“Who’s guilty in that footage?” asked Ellington.

The crowd roared “the police” in response.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp has said that the aggressive response from the police officers in the shooting was unacceptable. She reported Wednesday that Washington, the woman who was shot, is resting and recovering.

New Haven resident Vanessa Suarez took her turn at the megaphone during the rally. She fought back tears as she brought up Washington.

“Those police officers tried to murder her. I will not call it anything other than that,” Suarez said. “They wanted to murder her and they missed.”

Activists are saying they’ll protest every day until they get what they want.