A police officer involved in a shootout near Yale University campus has been holding protests for nearly a week. In contrast toYale protesters claim that this case is not about race but about police education.
On Sunday, protesters poured into the streets of Hamden, Connecticut. This was the sixth consecutive day of passionate but peaceful demonstrations since an officer was involved in a shooting Tuesday in New Haven.
The surveillance video given to the CBS subsidiary WFSB-TV seems to show the moment in which the police had to deal with a car to match the description of one associated with a reported armed robbery. In the video, Hamden cop Devin Eaton jumps out of his SUV with a gun out and shoots several laps into the car before driving down the street.
Sitting in the car was 22-year-old Stephanie Washington and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon. Both were unarmed.
Washington was shot in the face with a non-life-threatening wound. Witherspoon was not hurt.
The video does not show what led to the shooting, but the authorities say police officers, Eaton and Yale University Police Officer Terrance Black, were about to fire when Witherspoon suddenly got out of the vehicle.
Both officers were placed on administrative leave during the investigation of the incident. Some protesters say this is another example of African Americans being wrongfully attacked by police officers.
"I think it is very important for people to speak out, especially for injustice against colored people," said one protester.
Witherspoon's uncle Rodney Williams said shooting has a nationwide problem rooted not in race but in policing.
"You have to see what's really going on with the police … how the police really look. Look at the residents," he said. "The police could be black, white, Puerto Rican … it's just a police issue … I think we have to be respected as humans, and I feel they really do not."
The Connecticut State Police say they plan to release more details of their investigation, including video from the body camera, later this week.
The mayor of Hamden, Curt B. Leng, promises more police training and public dialogue.
In the meantime, protesters say they won not to go out on the streets until the two officers involved in the shootings are fired.
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