Hamden town council votes down resolution for independent investigation of officer-involved shooting

New Haven

Hamden‘s Legislative Council voted down a proposal that would have funded an independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting of an unarmed couple.

The council said the resolution that was drafted did not meet the needs expressed by the community and that they would be drafting a new resolution to vote on in two weeks. 

Members of the council apologized to neighbors saying they did not meet the expectations expected and can do better in writing a new resolution. 

Dozens of neighbors from Hamden and New Haven took to the microphone to make their voices heard during a public comment session before the vote.

That meeting lasted late into the night on Monday.

The council members News 8 talked to said police shouldn’t be investigating police internally and they want the town to trust the outcome of an investigation. 

Related Content: Exclusive: Gas station surveillance video before police-involved shooting surfaces

A Hamden and Yale officer both fired their guns last month at an unarmed couple in a car last month.  Paul Witherspoon was driving and was not hit, but passenger Stephanie Washington was stuck by gunfire and hospitalized for about a week. 

Police said they were responding to a 911 call by a convenience store clerk about an armed robbery. The clerk described Witherspoon and the car he was driving to the dispatcher. 

Neighbors said a Connecticut State Police investigation and an internal investigation are not enough. They want to hire a law firm with no ties to the Hamden Police Department to look into every aspect of this case, including the use of deadly force.

“You had individuals saying they would come back as long as it takes, and I think it’s important for us to do it thoughtfully, so that when individuals come back to us in two weeks, regardless of what we have, they know that we actually heard them. Because there were a lot of community members who felt that we didn’t actually listen to them,” explained Justin Farmer with the Hamden Legislative Council.

Related Content: Legislative council set to vote on resolution for independent investigation funding

“It wasn’t what the residents asked for. Residents came here and they asked for transparency, they asked for accountability, and what we had didn’t offer that,” added Brad MacDowall with the council.

It is important to note – State Police have taken over the investigation and it’s now in the hands of the State’s Attorney’s Office.

News 8’s Amy Hudak will have more details on News 8 at 11.

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