Connecticut Cop Who Shot at Unarmed Couple in Car Charged With Felony Assault, Reckless Endangerment

Courtesy ABC News

By Dave Collins, Associated Press

A Connecticut police officer who opened fire on an unarmed couple’s car and wounded a 22-year-old woman was charged Monday with felony assault and reckless endangerment.

State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin determined the April 16 use of force in New Haven was not justified and filed charges against Hamden officer Devin Eaton, officials announced.

The shooting sparked several protests in New Haven and neighboring Hamden and prompted calls from area clergy and activists for both officers to be fired.

Police initially said Eaton and Yale University officer Terrance Pollack opened fire on the car when the driver, Paul Witherspoon III, got out abruptly. Witherspoon’s girlfriend, Stephanie Washington, was wounded but recovered. The shooting was recorded by Eaton’s body camera and surveillance cameras.

Messages seeking comment were left for Eaton and his attorney Monday. Griffin determined that Pollack’s use of force was justified.

Officials say Eaton posted $100,000 bail and was ordered to appear in court Oct. 28 to face one count of first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.

Authorities said Eaton and Pollack stopped the car while investigating a reported attempted armed robbery in Hamden. The car matched the description of the one involved in the attempted robbery.

Eaton told investigators he believed Witherspoon had a gun. He did not.

Hamden Police officer charged shooting

Officer Devin Eaton

“Under circumstances evincing an extreme indifference to human life, he recklessly engaged in conduct which created a risk of death, and thereby caused serious physical injury to Washington,” Griffin said in his report. “Additionally, the reckless manner in which the shots were discharged placed those in the immediate vicinity, including Paul Witherspoon and Officer Pollock, at risk for serious physical injury.”

Pollock fired three shots, but Griffin said that use of force was justified because he believed Eaton and Witherspoon were exchanging gunfire. Pollock was wounded by a shot fired by Eaton but recovered.

comments

  1. avatar strych9 says:

    “Pollock was wounded by a shot fired by Eaton but recovered.”

    Same thing happened to Saddam in the botched hit on Qasim.

    Idiots never learn that members of a firing squad are all supposed to face the same direction very specifically for the safety of those in the firing squad.

    1. avatar Sunshine says:

      I always yell “Gun!” before shooting my deer during hunting season. Just habit I guess, but it never hurts.

  2. avatar tracy says:

    Unbelievable !

    Officer’s body camera shows a police actually shooting at someone because he responded too quickly, when ordered to put his hand up.

  3. avatar Otto Lode says:

    they really must have relaxed the mental test requirements for cops these daze we sure have a bunch of trigger happy retards that make Barney Fife look like Clint Eastwood !!!

    1. avatar Shire-man says:

      CT is famous for the “sorry, your IQ is too high” reason to not hire for cops. Held up in court too.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        I want to call bullshit here but I have a sinking feeling you understated what went on there.

      2. avatar jakee308 says:

        Being largely Democrat, most all city police forces adhere to strict EEOC guidelines.

        And their percentages of the racial composition of the departments must meet percentages regardless of qualifications. (they’ll lie and say that’s not true)

      3. avatar Huntmaster says:

        That was New London CT. The police exam was scored to screen out really smart people. In order to qual for an interview your score had to fall into slot. To low or to high, you didn’t get an interview.

  4. avatar daveinwyo says:

    The “us vs. them” mentality is getting pretty bad.
    Mag dumps, shooting through windows, shooting when citizen complies, using firearm instead of, oops, taser, etc.
    Don’t want to hate on cops, but….
    Yeah, I know, it’s black lives matter, pantifa, dimocrats etc, et al.
    Maybe time to hold police “leadership” liable.

  5. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    “Charged With Felony Assault, Reckless Endangerment”, ya think .

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Im sure that’s exactly what you or I would be charged with if caught pumping rounds into some unarmed couple’s car.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        0Don’t forget, one round into a New Haven police officer. (who knows, maybe he wouldn’t have been charged if he didn’t shoot his own partner)

      2. avatar Robb says:

        You forgot the /s friend

  6. avatar Otto Lode says:

    so many rounds fired it’s a miracle both innocents aren’t dead not to mention friendly fire and where did all those strays go in that densely populated area

    Laws protecting police shootings have to be changed to make officers accountable because we are all better off with no cops rather than being shot through our home and car windows by cops making mistaken ID’s

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      “so many rounds fired it’s a miracle both innocents aren’t dead not to mention friendly fire and where did all those strays go in that densely populated area ”

      ****
      Deja Vu…Michael Dorner manhunt, Los Angeles 2013. Police were hunting one large black man in a certain model and color truck, but shot 100+ rounds at two unarmed Latina women traveling AWAY from the cops in a different model and color truck. Fortunately, only two rounds struck the women, but what happened to all the other rounds that were fired in fear and haste and kept whizzing down the residential street?

      1. avatar Chris Morton says:

        Don’t forget that the Torrance PD also tried to slaughter an average sized White surfer whom they “mistook” for the 6+’, 300lb. Black, Dorner. He also drove a vehicle which didn’t resemble Dorner’s.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Yes. Didn’t they try ramming that guy’s truck? Isn’t a major rule of responsible gun ownership for us plebes to positively identify your target before muzzling it?

        2. avatar Chris Morton says:

          Yes, they rammed David Perdue’s truck, then leapt onto the hood and loosed a fusillade of bullets at him.

        3. avatar OBOB says:

          the surfer got 1.8 million for that one!

        4. avatar conrad says:

          Don’t forget the 76 rounds fired in Orange County. The Officer wanted his buddy to sit on the door to shoot his AR while he shot through the front window. When it was over one remarked that he couldn’t hear.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      “because we are all better off with no cops…”

      if you can make 51% of the voting public agree with you, you’ll really have something.

      1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        That day is coming, and it won’t be soon enough.

  7. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Should’ve additionally been charged with attempted murder…

  8. avatar Will Drider says:

    There was a big issue about “a gun” being present as OFFICER claimed but non was found.
    If a gun lawful or not, was found in the car: it has no bearing on the Officer’s use of lethal force since the Driver was compliant with Officer’s commands and did not threaten the Officer. If Officer “thinks” Driver IS a threat: Why did he shoot through the occupied front passenger area hitting a non threat woman?

    This is a crap sandwich over stopping a Red Car that matched a APB description. With the increase in shooting non-criminal civilians, I can only assume the increase in LE being shot/killed has made many Officers nervous and jumpy. Could the “Better Judged by 12 than carried by 6.” philosophy being played out by Officers that are more likely to make use of lethal force decisions?

    1. avatar MyName says:

      Half a dozen or so years ago, I found myself in the awkward position of owning and driving a car that fit the description of the car that someone who’d been bad in roughly the vicinity of my house supposedly drove. I didn’t know that at the time but suddenly noticed that about every other day I was being followed by a cop on my way to work. This went on for a couple weeks and then I was pulled over. The cop came up with some lame excuse for the traffic stop and then let me go without even a warning. A couple days later, cops start following me around the neighborhood again. Turns out, I have a friend who is a local cop and, though he worked in a different part of town, he knows people in the dept. so I asked him what gives and he says he’ll ask around.

      Turns out, some deadbeat had stolen a car very, very similar to mine and was wanted in connection with some armed robberies. I said, “Oh, why didn’t anyone just announce that to the public, there is a car nearly identical to mine parked a handful of blocks from my house that has a busted driver’s side window and the trunk lock has been punched out – maybe look into that one.” When my friend asked me why I knew that, I pointed out that people tend to notice cars nearly identical to their own and this one was on a route I commonly traveled. I’d even remarked to others that if my car got stolen, it would look exactly like that one parked a few blocks away.

      My “tip” must have paid off because the police quit tailing me around town,.

  9. avatar American Patriot says:

    Used to be cops were gun people before joining the force, but now in a lot of cases it’s the first time they ever handled a weapon (with minimal training) & never go out shooting on there own. With the cops doing mag dumps on perps & only slightly wounding in most cases with 1 or 2 rds hitting the suspects it’s a wonder more bystanders aren’t killed!

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      Speaking of bystanders, this one from Brazil, the good guy bikers with a gun mistakenly shoot and kill 2 innocent bystanders and the actually bad guys get away. http://concealednation.org/2019/10/extremely-negative-outcome-from-armed-robbery-good-guys-shoot-innocent-bystanders-and-3-dont-make-it/

      1. avatar WI Patriot says:

        There’s a BIG difference between Brazil and the United States of America…

        1. avatar MyName says:

          Yeah, they’re are more Taurus models available here even though they are made there.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Some of the worst candidates to train are “gun people” who think they know everything when they enter the range. The best are often people who know little about guns and aren’t afraid to admit it. However this isn’t a matter of being a gun person or not. It’s a failure of tactics, observation and decision-making. It’s the kind of thing that needs to be selected for and trained using force-on-force methods (i.e. simunitions and the like). Some departments realize this, others would rather pay out civil suits because it’s cheaper on whole.

  10. avatar enuf says:

    So he not only shot at two innocent people and wounded one, but he also shot another officer!!!

    We do need some stories of good cops. I mean, these shitheads are depressing the crap outta the internet …

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Enuf,

      I am with you. There are over 750k police officers in this country. YES!!!! I agree there are bad cops out there being bullies, making bad calls, covering up for other bad cops. But there are a lot of good cops, patrolling their communities, counseling young people, making good arrests, watching out for the folk in their neighborhood whom they know are vulnerable, coaching kids sports, coaching at the local gun range, praying at and protecting their houses of worship.

      I one worked at IT implementation for a check processing service. It was a small operation, processing only about 200k checks per month. They had an error rate of 2/10ths of one percent. Not bad, but that still meant 40 checks per month needed a manual intervention. Not acceptable.

      When we give police officers the responsibility to make life-and-death decisions, we want perfection, but understand that is not possible. None-the-less, there are a lot of good cops out there making a lot of good calls.

      As for the sloppiness we have been reading about recently, police leadership must be held as accountable as the offending officers.

      1. avatar Chris Morton says:

        Police want absolute power OVER citizens with ZERO accountability TO those citizens.

    2. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      We get plenty of those stories. “Cop acts like a decent human being , so we have to pat him on the back and give him an award.”

  11. avatar jakee308 says:

    This is just crazy. One cop opens fire on an unarmed man; he gets charged. The other cop shoots the guy but he gets off because he thought the illegal discharge by the other cop was them exchanging fire so he was okay to shoot the guy too.

    How nuts is that ruling? They both should be up on charges as neither one had justifiable reason to shoot. Doesn’t matter that the other cop was shooting illegally?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “One cop opens fire on an unarmed man; he gets charged. The other cop shoots the guy but he gets off”

      It’s called “reflexive shooting.” It’s what cops due when they think they’re going to miss out on all the fun.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        I know it as ‘contagious shooting’ and it needs to be trained out in the academy and in-service training. Unfortunately there’s often very little time and funding budgeted for such things.

      2. avatar Southern Cross says:

        When one cop shoots, all cops shoot.

        1. avatar Chris Morton says:

          Emma Hernandez and Margie Carranza can tell you a little bit about that…

  12. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

    Another couple worthless coward pigs. Put them in prison where they belong, with the rest of the scum.

  13. avatar Truckman says:

    About time these cops learn they are not above the law

  14. avatar Timoth Toroian says:

    Don’t prospects go through a psych exam any longer or are the evaluators not up to snuff? This is about the 3rd or 4th similar shooting including two who fired INTO houses about something they thought might happen Not cool.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Psych exams, as such, are bullshit. They don’t find much that a good interview and background investigation wouldn’t. They’re often full of pseudo-scientific personality ‘tests’ and then a shrink sits you down, asks if you want to shoot black people, and gets paid $500 an hour for it.

      This sort of thing should be caught in training, either at the academy or field, and the candidate should be made better or washed out. But when you have a severe drought of people who are qualified (i.e. no real criminal history) who want to be cops at the pay offered in an area, you maybe let a few shitbirds in and hope they don’t have to do anything important.

  15. avatar Rokurota says:

    “Police initially said…” followed by “Bodycam footage showed…” This is the new narrative. Which makes me wonder how many pre-bodycam “good shoots” were actually not so good. Kinda chilling to think.

  16. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

    attempted murder for me and you, reckless endangerment if wearing blue

  17. avatar Ralph says:

    But the poor cop was just turning his life around.

    1. avatar "keep yurvpaws off my dead guy" possum says:

      His food stamps ran out. Gotta go on the hunt.

  18. avatar Dude says:

    Let me guess. The cop is a racist that wakes up every morning hoping he’ll be able to take out one of those people of color. Doesn’t fit that narrative? Guess we won’t hear too much about this case.

  19. avatar Hannibal says:

    Looking at the body camera footage, the number one screwup here was a screwed up position. Much like in the Tamir Rice shooting, this could have been prevented had he not driven into a tactically awful position. He drove past the car such that his back was turned on the suspect as he got out. And the same position created a massive crossfire problem. This was about as far from a good ‘high risk stop’ as you can get. And yeah, stuff happens, but it would appear he was unable to deal with the situation that he created for himself.

    It doesn’t help that the first 15 seconds of footage have no audio. That’s a stupid ass ‘feature’ if it’s not a bug. The first 15 seconds of any critical incident (i.e. a shooting) are often the most important.

    1. avatar Miner49er says:

      Well you know, the first 15 seconds of audio didn’t just disappear, they were edited out intentionally because they did not portray the officers’ actions in a positive light.

  20. avatar Huntmaster says:

    What happens to Joe Citizen if he shoots somebody because he thought the guy had a gun?

    1. avatar Chris Morton says:

      What happens to a citizen who shoots a cop during a no-knock raid at the wrong address?

  21. avatar Oldgreyguy says:

    Son had a H.S. friend that became a cop because he wanted to help people. Was fired because he was “to nice”.

  22. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    If cops must be allowed to carry weapons, a questionable assertion, then they must not be allowed to touch or draw their weapons until there is an actual threat. The lives and rights of citizens are more important than the safety of government employees.

  23. avatar Fry the turkey says:

    Deep fry the dirty cop. Cops have to learn they work for us, not the other way around. Paramilitarized scum.

  24. avatar Jerry Sweet says:

    Texas used to have a law if you feel a cop is trying to murder you you can kill him.

  25. avatar Dwight Hansen says:

    One body cam turned off. Another turned on seconds before the incident.

    Those cams should not be allowed to be turned off EVER.

    It should be a felony for an officer to tamper with it.

  26. avatar Nelson says:

    Meh. Should’ve been charged with 2nd degree MURDER. Let the govt terrorist fucker FRY by the very same shitstem. xD

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