State police have arrested Devin Eaton, a Hamden police officer, in connection with a police-involved shooting that injured a woman in New Haven in April.
Eaton, 29, has been charged with one count of assault in the first degree and two counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree for the shooting early on the morning of April 16 that injured Stephanie Washington.
Eaton's attorney, E. Gregory Cerritelli, released a statement on Monday afternoon.
"The job of a police officer is a difficult one, and that job has been made even more difficult by the arrest of Officer Eaton. Police officers are called upon to make split-second decisions that often require the exercise of judgment. Officer Eaton’s arrest sends a clear and unambiguous message to the men and women who are sworn to protect the people of this state: You better be right 100 percent of the time, and if you are not, you will face criminal prosecution. I can only hope Office Eaton’s arrest will not cause other officers to hesitate when confronted with similar circumstances," Cerritelli said in a statement.
Police said Eaton and Yale police officer Terrance Pollock opened fire on a red Honda Accord at the intersection of Dixwell Avenue and Argyle Street in New Haven while investigating reports of an attempted armed robbery of a newspaper delivery person outside the Go on Gas station/White Stone mini-mart on Arch Street in Hamden.
Washington was a passenger in the Honda during the shooting.
The arrest warrant for Eaton says Washington sustained several injuries, including a gunshot wound to the upper thigh/glute area, which traveled, fracturing her pelvis and spine. She needed abdominal surgery and remained at Yale New Haven Hospital until April 20, according to police.
Investigators determined that Washington’s injuries were caused “by a projectile fired from Officer Eaton’s firearm.”
Eaton told investigators that he saw the driver raise his arm and he appeared to have an object, which Eaton thought was a gun.
No weapon was found on the victims.
According to the arrest warrant, Eaton fired 13 shots toward the Honda and Pollock fired three.
When Eaton fired the last two shots, his arm was extended behind him as he fled on Argyle Street, seeking cover, the arrest warrant application says.
Pollock was grazed in the right calf by a bullet during what police said was the result of “friendly fire“ from Eaton’s gun. He was transported to Yale New Haven Hospital and released the same day. Pollock has not been charged.
Following the incident, state police released video. While the Yale cruiser had a camera, it was not on and the officer did not turn on his body camera, state police said.
Limited video was released from the Hamden officer's camera because he turned it on after the shooting started, according to police.
Protesters rallied following the shooting, calling for the firing of both officers.
Eaton was released on a $100,000 bond. He is due in court on Oct. 28.
A person at the addresses listed for Eaton had no comment.
Both officers were placed on leave after the shooting and hamden police said Eaton remains on paid administrative leave.
John Cappiello, the acting chief of police in Hamden, issued a statement on Monday afternoon.
It says, in part:
"The prosecutor’s decision clears the way for the Ethics and Integrity Unit (commonly known as internal affairs) of the Hamden Police Department to complete its investigation of Officer Eaton’s conduct. At the State’s Attorney’s request the formal interview of Office Eaton by internal affairs was postponed during the State Police investigation and the prosecutor’s deliberations."
The unit is using an independent consultant while completing the internal affairs report.
The police chief will be responsible for making a recommendation to the police commision on action concerning Eaton.
David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, released a statement on Monday afternoon.
“Regardless of the outcome of this one case, true police accountability still does not exist in Connecticut. Police accountability will not exist until every level of government works to prevent police violence and to hold police employees responsible each time they hurt or kill someone, not just in cases when hundreds of people have taken to the streets in protest, the statement says, in part.