Hamden Officer Charged in New Haven Shooting Faces Judge

CORRECTION (Oct. 28, 2019, 4:06 p.m. ET): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Officer Devin Eaton pleaded not guilty Monday. A court clerk confirmed that Eaton did not enter a plea Monday.

A Hamden police officer faced a judge for the first time on Monday since he was charged in the shooting involving an unarmed couple's car and wounding a 22-year-old woman in New Haven in April.

Officer Devin Eaton was arraigned Monday on felony assault and reckless endangerment charges in New Haven Superior Court on Monday. Officials said he fired 13 times after the driver in the car got out unexpectedly.

Eaton's attorney Gregory Cerritelli said they intend to plead not guilty and that the charges send a dangerous message to law enforcement.

"I hope that this arrest does not send a message to them, not to take decisive action if confronted with similar circumstances," Cerritelli said.

The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Paul Witherspoon, was uninjured, but his girlfriend, Stephanie Washington, who was in the car, was seriously injured, according to authorities.

"I respect the decision of the state's attorney to prosecute Officer Eaton on these three very serious charges. The investigation was thorough and carefully weighed significant evidence before arriving at the conclusions that they did," said Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng.

Officer Eaton has been free after posting $100,000 bail.

There was also another officer from Yale Police involved in the incident. He has not been charged. A university spokesperson said they are in the process of conducting an internal affairs administrative review. 

"Officer Pollock was not charged criminally by the State’s Attorney, so our next step is the administrative review, and Yale has engaged Chase Rogers, former Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, to conduct the review. Any administrative action taken will be based upon the facts of the investigation," the spokesperson said.

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