Add singing in your car while Black to the growing list of things that Black people can’t do without being arrested or in this particular case being shot at by the police. Surveillance footage clearly shows the moment two police officers opened fire on an unarmed Black couple.
Last Tuesday (Apr 16), it was reported that an unarmed Black couple Stephanie Washington, 22, and her boyfriend Paul Witherspoon III, 21, were shot at by Hamden police officer Devin Eaton and Yale police officer Terrance Pollack. The officers who are also Black believed the couple’s vehicle was involved in an armed robbery of a newspaper delivery person at a local Hamden gas station. Local law enforcement also claims that Witherspoon did not comply with the officer’s commands and had a gun despite the fact that no weapons being discovered after a search of the vehicle was conducted.
In the surveillance footage, the two officers can be seen jumping out of their SUV firing multiple rounds at the couple. The CCTV footage clearly shows Eaton raising his gun at the car and firing into the couple’s vehicle, Washington is also seen getting out the car and running away. Washington was struck in the face, but her injury was not life-threatening, Witherspoon escaped the terrifying ordeal with no injuries but was taken into custody for questioning and later released.
Before the shooting, the couple was just enjoying a night out and even recorded a video of them singing “Nothing In This World” by Avant and Keke Wyatt.
Since the shooting, Yale students and the Black Live Matter movement have led peaceful demonstrations calling for transparency and release of body cam footage claiming the couple was targeted because they were Black. On Tuesday (Apr.23), the WSFB finally received that video of the incident.
Officer Eaton has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation into the shooting is ongoing. As a standard protocol for an incident involving a Yale officer firing their weapon, Pollock was also placed on leave.
Photo: Thomas Winz / Getty