Protests and Questions Follow Shooting by Police Near Yale

Black Lives Matter calls another demonstration
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2019 10:32 AM CDT
Protests and Questions Follow Shooting by Police Near Yale
The Rev. Boise Kimber, center, flanked by Hamden Acting Police Chief John Cappiello, left, and Hamden Mayor Curt Leng, right, speaks outside the Hamden Government Center after a meeting Friday between the town officials and local clergy concerning the recent police shooting in Hamden, Conn.   (Arnold Gold/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)

Nightly protests followed the police shooting of a woman in a car near Yale's campus, and another demonstration is planned for Sunday. Stephanie Washington, 22, was hospitalized after being shot by an officer from Yale and a second from the town of Hamden, NBC reports. They had stopped the car because it matched the description of one used in a reported robbery at a nearby gas station. The car's driver was Paul Witherspoon, 21, who police say was the suspect in the robbery. Both drivers opened fire on the car. Bodycam video shows no weapon in Witherspoon's hands when he jumped out of the car, per the Courant, and none was found at the scene. His uncle said there was an argument at the gas station, but no attempted robbery. Police held Witherspoon briefly after the shooting Tuesday, then released him, and he has not been charged.

Washington, whose injuries are not life-threatening, Witherspoon and the two police officers all are black. The officers are on administrative leave while Connecticut officials investigate the shooting. Saying the New Haven, Hamden and Yale police constitute a "triple occupation" of the community, the Hamden chapter of Black Lives Matter has called another protest for Sunday afternoon. On Friday, hundreds of people marched through town to the police station in Hamden, whose mayor called the shooting "shocking, haunting." He added, "We must do better," per NBC. One demonstrator said he was angered that instead of trying to diffuse the situation, the officers immediately employed deadly force. Citing Ferguson, Mo., and other places where police have been accused of using excessive force, he said, "Now we’re on the list." (More police shooting stories.)

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