HARTFORD, Conn. – A Connecticut police officer who opened the fire on an unarmed couple's car and severely wounded a woman was charged on Monday for assault and recklessness.
Prosecutor Patrick Griffin reported in an investigative report that Hamden official Devin Eaton showed "extreme indifference to human life" and that the use of force in New Haven on April 16 was not justified.
29-year-old Eaton, who has been in action for three years, posted a $ 100,000 bail and was sentenced to appear in court on October 28 and look at a number of first-degree and first-degree attacks two number of reckless dangers of the first degree opposite. He did not return a message asking for a comment.
His lawyer Gregory Cerritelli said Eaton and his colleagues were disturbed by the arrest, and the case sent frightening news to the prosecution. He refused to discuss details of the allegations.
"Police officers must make decisions in fractions of a second and exercise their judgment and discretion," Cerritelli said. "It's a sad day for the law enforcement community because the intelligence officer Eaton arrested on arrest finds he needs to be 1
The raids sparked protests in New Haven and neighboring Hamden and led to calls from area clerics and activists for the dismissal of the two officers involved.
According to police, Eaton and Yale University officer Terrance Pollock both opened the fire on the car, which corresponded to the description of a participant in a reported attempted armed robbery. The driver, Paul Witherspoon III, abruptly dismounted.
Eaton's body-camera video shows Witherspoon, who was not injured, gets out of the car and seems to raise his hands when Eaton starts firing. Witherspoon then quickly gets back into the vehicle.
Eaton, who told the authorities that Witherspoon had a gun, fired a few shots at the driver's side of the car, then ran to the other side and fired again, blew out the passenger side window.
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22-year-old Witherspoon girlfriend Stephanie Washington was wounded, but survived. Further details of her injuries were announced on Monday. This showed that she was hit by a bullet that had broken her pelvis and spine.
"It was like a nightmare, I thought I was going to die," Washington said in an affidavit This mug shot of the State Police of Connecticut shows the Hamden police officer Devin Eaton (29) arrested on Monday, October 21, 2019, The investigators later found that Eaton had fired 13 times and Pollock three times. Pollock's use of lethal force has proved justified, Griffin said, as the official believed Eaton and Witherspoon had fired shots at Eaton's weapon.
Washington and Pollock were injured, having suffered a bruise.
An affidavit from Eaton to the investigators was released on Monday.
"I could see that he was holding nothing in his left hand, but when he turned to face me, I saw that the operator (Witherspoon) raised his right arm and it appeared that he was holding an item in his right hand I thought it was a weapon, Eaton said.
Because of his proximity to me and his sudden and aggressive actions when getting out, I feared that the driver wanted to shoot me and cause me serious or fatal injuries. " Eaton said.
Griffin said no weapons had been found on Witherspoon, Washington or in the car.
Hamden officials said that Eaton's arrest also means paid leave he is since The shootout is being switched to unpaid leave.
Another Eaton attorney, Elliot Spector, said Eaton did not know that the other policeman had arrived at the scene and believed Witherspoon was shooting at him, although in reality it was the other policeman's weapon.
Griffin said in his investigative report that some of Eaton's statements contradicted the evidence and that the Yale officer fired his weapon only when Eaton had already fired eight times.
As the utmost indifference to human life, he ruthlessly engaged behaviors that risked death and caused Washington bodily injury, "Griffin said in his report." The ruthless manner in which the shots were fired "Endangered those in the immediate area, including Paul Witherspoon and Officer Pollock, for serious bodily injury."
Witherspoon and Washington and both officers are black.
Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP, said on Monday, he continues to believe that both officers should have been arrested.
"Being arrested is one thing and being sentenced is another," Esdaile added. "We saw policemen arrested but left without to be sentenced. There is no time to celebrate. We still have a long way to go. "19659002] The shooting followed a reported attempted armed raid on a gas station in Hamden, later informing the police that he had not seen a gun, and the surveillance video showed Witherspoon appearing with one another man argued, but did not rob him.