Hamden’s acting police chief is recommending the firing of a police officer involved in an April shooting that injured a young woman.
Police said Hamden officer Devin Eaton and a Yale University police officer shot at a car in New Haven on April 16 after Eaton stopped it while investigating a reported robbery. The incident set off weeks of protests as activists called for Eaton’s firing.
Officials said Eaton fired 13 times after the driver, Paul Witherspoon III, got out of the car unexpectedly.
Witherspoon wasn't injured. His girlfriend, 22-year-old Stephanie Washington, was seriously injured but survived.
Acting Police Chief John Cappiello has preferred departmental charges against Eaton and recommended his termination to the Hamden Board of Police Commissioners.
Gregory Cerritelli, Eaton's attorney, released the following statement in response to the charges.
"The police chief’s recommendation is cowardly and emblematic of a larger problem facing police officers throughout the country. Police today experience a complete lack of support by their administration and the very community they serve. Therefore, I have little confidence in the legitimacy of these proceedings."
Hamden Action Now, one of the groups pushing for Eaton's firing, saw the annoucement as a success.
"This is a great start. During the November 13 police commission meeting, Commissioner Iezzi said if upon Chief Cappiello’s recommendation to terminate, they would need seven days to add this matter to the next police commission meeting. We will now wait to see how the commission handles this recommendation. We’re not satisfied until Devin Eaton has been terminated!" a spokesperson for the group said.
Eaton is also facing criminal charges of assault and reckless endangerment. He has pleaded not guilty.
The Yale officer was not charged.