HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Hamden has reached a settlement with a woman who was shot by an officer in 2019 while she was unarmed.
Stephanie Washington was shot multiple times, and filed a federal lawsuit in 2020. The city has not released the exact amount included in the settlement because it has not been finalized. It is expected to be approved and publicly released in early April.
“We got to a point a couple months ago where we could come to a settlement, and I’m really relieved we are getting to a resolution, both for our community and Ms. Washington,” Mayor Lauren Garrett said on Wednesday.
Officer Devin Eaton pulled up to a vehicle Washington was a passenger in because he thought the car was connected to an armed robbery. He approached the vehicle with his gun drawn. The driver, 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon III, exited the car with his hands raised. Eaton then fired 13 rounds at the car, shooting Washington.
“Devin Eaton violated police policies and procedures, and so that is not indicative of our police department,” Garrett said. “It was not something that he was allowed to do, and so that’s why he is no longer with the town.”
Eaton has said that he thought Washington was armed. An investigation found no evidence that she had a gun.
Eaton was convicted of assault and agreed to never work in law enforcement again in order to avoid prison time.
Garrett said the town is moving in the right direction since the shooting, and has made improvements in police academy training.
“Our police department does more training than many other area departments,” Garrett said. “Every single month they are training on de-escalation and anti-bias training.”