Hamden Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Assault Charge Related to April 2019 Shooting in New Haven
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(New Haven, CT) - Patrick J. Griffin, New Haven State’s Attorney, announced that Hamden Police Officer Devin Eaton, age 32, pleaded guilty (nolo contendere) today before the Honorable Brian T. Fischer to one count of Assault in the First Degree, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 53a-59(a)(3).
Under the terms of the plea, Eaton faces a total effective sentence of five years’ incarceration, execution suspended following the service of eighteen months’ incarceration, to be followed by three years of probation. Eaton retains the right to argue to the Court at the time of sentencing for a departure from the maximum exposure, based upon the results of a pre-sentence investigation and any mitigating evidence he may present. Sentencing is scheduled for April 8, 2022. Eaton is represented in this case by Attorney Gregory Cerritelli.
Eaton’s plea stems from an on-duty incident which occurred on April 16, 2019 at approximately 4:32 a.m. On that early morning, Officer Eaton and Yale University Police Officer Terrance Pollock were involved in a non-fatal shooting incident in the City of New Haven, in the area of Argyle Street at Dixwell Avenue, during which Stephanie Washington was shot and seriously wounded. The shooting was the subject of a Use of Force Report issued by the New Haven State’s Attorney, and made available to the public, on October 17, 2019. Eaton was charged criminally as a result of the investigation. Officer Pollock was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing related to the incident.
As detailed in the report, the officers encountered Washington and Paul Witherspoon, the driver of the car in which she was a passenger, during the investigation of a 911 call of a reported armed robbery at the Go On Gas/White Stone Mini-Mart located at 144 Arch Street in Hamden. Eaton was found to have discharged his service weapon thirteen times at the car, based upon a mistaken belief that Witherspoon had displayed a firearm while responding to the officer’s commands to exit the car. It was subsequently determined that, at the time of the shooting, neither Witherspoon nor Washington were in possession of a firearm. Stephanie Washington was struck by gunfire as a result of Eaton’s actions and was treated at Yale New Haven Hospital for serious but non-life threatening injuries. Witherspoon did not sustain any injuries.
As a binding part of his plea agreement with the State, Eaton has agreed that he will not now, nor ever in his lifetime, seek or accept employment or reemployment as a sworn law enforcement officer in the State of Connecticut, or any other state or territory of the United States.
State’s Attorney Griffin again thanks the Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad for their investigative efforts, as well as Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Lisa D’Angelo who prosecuted the case along with Griffin.