Ministers Call For Firing Of Yale, Hamden Officers In New Haven Shooting

Matt Dwyer
April 24, 2019 - 12:54 pm

Members of the clergy from the New Haven area call for the firing of a Yale Police Officer and a Hamden Police Officer in a recent police-involved shooting in New Haven. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer

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(WTIC-AM) -- A group of New Haven-area clergy today urged Yale Police and Hamden Police to terminate two officers who opened fire on a man getting out of a car, after the vehicle was stopped. 

The man was not struck, but a woman inside the car was wounded. 

The ministers say the two officers violated numerous department policies during the incident.

Reverend Boise Kimber says the man who police were shooting at did what officers asked him to do. 

"Mr. [Paul] Witherspoon got out of the car with his hands up -- hands up -- and was fired upon," Kimber said. "That's what we are teaching black young men and women to do in our neighborhood. When the police stop you put your hands on the wheel.  When they ask you to get out of the car get out with your hands up.

"He did exactly what they asked him to do," Kimber said.

State investigators quickly released part of a body camera video that showed a portion of the incident. 

They said only one of Witherspoon's hands could be seen in the video.

State Police initially said Witherspoon made an aggressive move while getting out of the vehicle.

The ministers say charges should be filed against the person who phoned police reporting that the man in the car had been involved in an armed robbery. 

That report prompted officers to pull over the car.

Police later said there was no indication of an armed robbery, and no gun was found. 

Tomorrow afternoon members of the clergy plan to march to the office and the home of Yale's president calling for the firing of the two officers.