Yale cop in controversial shooting facing separate misconduct claim

New Haven

Only News 8 has learned one of the police officers who, in April, fired on an unarmed couple, wounding Stephanie Washington, is the subject of a second misconduct investigation.

Yale University police Officer Terrance Pollock is accused of misbehavior during a March 28 traffic stop in downtown New Haven outside Yale’s campus.  In the complaint obtained by News 8’s Mario Boone, Kijana Cornelius wrote that Pollock grabbed his car keys from the ignition with such force it caused the key to break.

Related: Hamden officials vote to make several policy changes in wake of recent officer-involved shooting

Pollock was wearing a body cam during the stop, but just like in the case of the shooting it wasn’t activated.  Yale police brass told News 8 the battery was dead due to Pollock working two consecutive shifts.

“I’ve heard that excuse so many times from many different police departments,” said John Williams, a high profile civil rights attorney, and legal expert.  “It just gets pretty old.”

A backup officer did turn on his camera and was able to capture part of the encounter.  Yale police Chief Ronell Higgins allowed only News 8 to view the footage Friday, he said in an effort to be transparent.  It wasn’t released to the public due to the pending internal review on the advice of university lawyers.  

Related: Body cam footage from fatal officer-involved shooting in California released

“By just letting you see it in the office, then they’re denying the public access to it,” said Williams.  He also told us he often sees misbehaving cops with a string of past complaints.

“Maybe it’s a false allegation, but if he did it, then he has no business being a cop and Yale ought to be on the hook for his behavior,” Williams concluded.

Yale’s Office of Public Affairs & Communications has issued a statement on the matter: 

On March 28, Yale Police Officer Terrance Pollock was traveling on Elm Street in New Haven when he came upon a car stopped in a traffic lane.

Officer Pollock asked the motorist why he was stopped, and for his license and registration. The motorist refused to show his license or registration.

Officer Pollock’s conduct in this incident appears to have been professional and in full compliance with the standards of the Yale Police Department. Because Officer Pollock was working his second consecutive shift at the time of the incident, the battery on his body camera was drained.

Officer Pollock ensured, however, that the Yale Police Officer who came to assist him turned on his own camera. Given that the motorist has filed a complaint about the incident, Yale has been reviewing it.

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