Law enforcement

Activists Calling for Hamden Officer's Firing March Through Streets

Officer Devin Eaton has been charged with felony assault and reckless endangerment.

Activists walked through the streets of Hamden Wednesday calling for the firing of a police officer involved in a shooting in New Haven that injured a young woman.

The activists were bound for Hamden’s Government Center, hoping to hand deliver a letter to the mayor demanding the action.

Earlier, dozens rallied outside Town Hall to demand the termination of Officer Devin Eaton.

He’s been charged with felony assault and reckless endangerment.

Investigators say Eaton shot at a car with an unarmed couple inside back in April in New Haven.

Authorities say the officer fired 13 times after the driver – Paul Witherspoon - got out unexpectedly. A woman in the car – Stephanie Washington – was reportedly seriously hurt.

The officer’s attorney says they intend to plead not guilty and the charges send a dangerous message to law enforcement.

Now protesters are calling for the town to follow police policies when it comes to reviewing an officer’s actions.

“We’re concerned about the shooting of unarmed people over our town’s line. It seemed reckless and random and that’s why he received charges by the state. So we want make to make sure he’s no longer employed by the town of Hamden,” said Rhonda Caldwell, Hamden Action Now Organizer.

Hamden Mayor Curt Leng said the Hamden investigation is ongoing. He offered the following statement:

"A little more than a week ago, a decision was brought by the State’s Attorney, following an extensive investigation process, to prosecute Officer Devon Eaton on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to the shooting that occurred on April 16, 2019 in New Haven.

"Officer Eaton is currently on unpaid administrative leave, per contract and law. He has not appealed that determination to the Board of Police Commissioners.

"Hamden’s Police Chief now has up until November 20th to review the report being completed by the Department’s Ethics & Integrity Unit and issue disciplinary charges. I refer further questions on the timeline specifics and report progress to Chief Cappiello.

"At the point that charges are brought to the Board of Police Commissioners, they will schedule formal hearing dates.

"The State took this incident very seriously and after completing their 6-month investigation, they brought criminal charges. I trust the Police Chief and Police Commission will review this matter with the same level of seriousness, which it deserves, and ensure the outlined process is handled properly and professionally."

NBC Connecticut reached out to the police department for comment but has not yet heard back.

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