Hamden Police To Implement Changes After Shooting in New Haven - NBC Connecticut

Hamden Police To Implement Changes After Shooting in New Haven

Community pastors and the police chief said they have agreed to bring in an urban trauma specialist to train Hamden's officers after a police-involved shooting in New Haven.

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    Clergy Meet With Hamden Leaders After Police Shooting

    Clergy from the African-American church community in New Haven met with Hamden town leaders on Friday to discuss the police shooting involving officers from Hamden and Yale University.

    (Published Friday, April 19, 2019)

    New Haven clergy concerned about the police shooting in their city involving a Hamden and Yale officer met Friday morning with Hamden's mayor and acting chief of police.

    "We are really outraged in reference to what has transpired, but we did want to come and share our concerns," Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber said after he and other pastors had their private meeting in the mayor's office.

    "This is about working together," Mayor Curt Leng (D) said, "and trying to make meaningful change moving forward we can't take away what happened, what happened was horrific."

    The faith leaders said they plan to continue the conversation with Leng and acting Chief John Cappiello.

    "We would also like the board of commission(ers) to look like this community," Kimber said. "At this present, time there's only one African American that sits on this board,"

    The pastors and police chief said they have agreed to bring in an urban trauma specialist to train Hamden's officers.

    "I know we deal with trauma but the urban trauma is very important because it's generational trauma," Pastor John Lewis said. "They need to understand the individuals, their environment they're going in and their deescalation is based on Dr. King's philosophy of non-violence."

    Another recommendation accepted by the mayor and chief is to establish in writing a more clear-cut policy on notifying neighboring police forces when Hamden officers go into their city or town.

    "I just want to make sure everybody understands if you're going into another town what you need to do," Cappiello said.

    It's been three days since the investigators said Hamden police officer Devin Eaton and Yale police officer Terrance Pollock shot at the red car seen in surveillance video by the Dixwell and Argyle intersection.

    The young woman in the passenger seat, 22-year-old Stephanie Washington, is recovering from a gunshot wound. The driver has been identified as 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon, but he was not shot.

    "I thank god that my family and the young lady that nobody passed," Witherspoon's uncle Rodney Williams from New Haven said.

    State police said Hamden police got the report of an attempted armed robbery of a newspaper deliveryman around 4 a.m. Tuesday at a Hamden gas station on Arch Street near the New Haven line, about a mile away from the shooting scene.

    Williams told NBC Connecticut his nephew did get in a heated argument, but that he was not carrying a gun nor committing a crime.

    "It was a verbal type thing," Williams said, "you know a back and forth with him and the newspaper guy. All this and that's what Paul is upset about, they're making it seem like he was trying to rob somebody."

    NBC Connecticut has requested the body camera video and radio transmissions leading up to the officers opening fire.

    When asked if that video and transmissions will eventually come out to the public, Cappiello said yes. "Yes, the state's attorney has assured us that as they go through the investigation, once they've looked at they will be releasing information through the state police for everybody to have," he said.

    Hamden officer Eaton remains on paid administrative leave.

    Witherspoon's attorney declined an interview with NBC Connecticut on Friday. He is planning to file a lawsuit against Hamden and Yale police.

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