Protesters say they won’t stop demonstrating until two officers involved in the shooting of two unarmed black people near Yale University’s campus are fired.
The streets of New Haven and neighboring Hamden, Conn., have been filled with protesters each night for nearly a week, after a Hamden cop and a Yale police officer fired multiple rounds at an unarmed couple sitting in their car last Tuesday. According to CBS News, the officers believed the car was linked to a reported armed robbery.
Surveillance footage captured the shooting, showing Hamden Police Officer Devin Eaton jumping out of his SUV with his gun drawn and firing into the car.
Stephanie Washington, 22, was shot in the face and had to go to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon, was not injured in the shooting. As CBS News reports, officials say Eaton and Yale University Police Officer Terrance Black fired at the vehicle when Witherspoon “abruptly” got out of it.
The shooting spurred activists to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations demanding greater police accountability and training. According to NBC News, Black Lives Matter of New Haven’s Facebook page referred to the area’s three police departments—New Haven, Hamden and Yale police—as a “triple occupation.”
“This is not just a Hamden situation or a New Haven situation,” demonstrator Remidy Shareef said in an interview with NBC Connecticut. “This situation is the culture of policing throughout America.”
Speaking to CBS, Witherspoon’s uncle Rodney Williams echoed that sentiment, saying America’s policing problems superseded race.
“You need to look at what’s really going on with the police ... really look at how the police look at residents period,” Williams said. “The police could be black, white, Puerto Rican ... it’s just a police issue ... I think we need to be respected as human beings and I feel like they really don’t.”
Connecticut state police are investigating the officer-involved shooting and say they will release more details of that inquiry, including police body cam video, this week.