New Haven clergy demand officers be fired following release of body cam video

New Haven

New Haven community leaders are responding to the police body camera footage released on Tuesday and will be meeting on Wednesday. The video shows the man police were shooting at seeming to comply with police instructions.

Pastors and other New Haven leaders met at the First Calvary Baptist Church in New Haven Wednesday morning to talk about that police body camera video. The video that shows the man at whom police were shooting had his hands up as the bullets started flying.

Related: Officers from New Haven police shooting failed to activate body cameras

In the video, Hamden police officer Devin Eaton pulled over a red Honda last Tuesday morning. He gets out of the car and so does the driver of the red Honda, Paul Witherspoon. From the video, you can see Witherspoon has his hands up as he gets out, but Officer Eaton pulls his trigger multiple times.

Eaton did not turn on his body cam until after he fired the shots, but the camera records 15 seconds of video before it is activated.

Yale police officer Terrance Pollock also shot at the Honda, but he never turned his body camera on.

State Police said that is against state law.

Related: Listen to 911 calls from officer-involved shooting in New Haven

Both officers are on leave right now. The Yale officer was hit by a bullet, but is fine.

Witherspoon was not injured. His girlfriend in the passenger seat was hit, but survived. 

The State Police Commissioner says it is very unusual to release all this video and information so early in the investigation. Police pulled that car over because a clerk at a store in Hamden called 911 saying he saw a newspaper delivery guy get robbed at gunpoint by a man who got in a red Honda.

He read off the license plate, and it matched the plate on the car Witherspoon was driving. State police confirming again that they searched every inch of the Honda and never found a gun.

Related: Hamden officer who shot at unarmed couple had clean record at NHPD

In response to calls from some community leaders for the officers to be fired, Hamden Mayor Curt Leng released the following statement:

I understand the calls for the firing of this officer. What we all saw was horrifying. The officer was immediately removed from duty pending the State Independent Investigation. This investigation, which started the day the shooting occurred, is active and ongoing.

It is crucial that we not interfere with a possible criminal investigation.

Once it is completed, we will take immediate appropriate action. We respect the work the Chief State’s Attorney is doing. They must be allowed to complete their work without interference. Any actions that interfere with the investigation would be harmful to everyone involved and to our community.

What I can assure everyone is that there will be full accountability here.

That meeting with pastors and community leaders can be viewed below:

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