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Police shooter of raw black couple near Yale exposes complex racial dishes

Breaking News Emails Get urgent news alerts and special reports. April 24, 2019, 20:44 UTC Av Erik Ortiz HAMDEN, Conn. – The images from the police bodycam video of two officers shooting at an unguarded black couple in their car have reverberated in New Haven, Connecticut, where the shot occurred last week and across the suburbs around the Yale campus. Especially for black residents, the shot has raised a deeper dissatisfaction that crosses slow complaints about police exchanges, racial tensions and anger at some community members who raise issues with the Ivy League school's "elite insularity" which cuts it down from the surrounding minority and lower income districts. "We are sending space ships to other planets, but we cannot build a bridge between the community and the police," said Rodney Williams, a resident of New Haven and Uncle Paul Witherspoon III, the driver of the car on April 1 6 shooting. Police officers who kicked at Witherspoon, 21, and his passengers Stephanie Washington, 22, were identified as Terrance Pollock, a 16-year-old veteran of Yale police and Devin Eaton, a police officer in Hamden, bordering New Haven in the north. Both Pollock and Eaton are black. For Williams and others, the race of the officers is of minor importance for the greater concern over the police in New Haven and surrounding communities where residents say racial profiling is still a problem. A 2017 analysis of the Institute of Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University reviewed data from about…

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Av Erik Ortiz

HAMDEN, Conn. – The images from the police bodycam video of two officers shooting at an unguarded black couple in their car have reverberated in New Haven, Connecticut, where the shot occurred last week and across the suburbs around the Yale campus.

Especially for black residents, the shot has raised a deeper dissatisfaction that crosses slow complaints about police exchanges, racial tensions and anger at some community members who raise issues with the Ivy League school’s “elite insularity” which cuts it down from the surrounding minority and lower income districts.

“We are sending space ships to other planets, but we cannot build a bridge between the community and the police,” said Rodney Williams, a resident of New Haven and Uncle Paul Witherspoon III, the driver of the car on April 1

6 shooting.

Police officers who kicked at Witherspoon, 21, and his passengers Stephanie Washington, 22, were identified as Terrance Pollock, a 16-year-old veteran of Yale police and Devin Eaton, a police officer in Hamden, bordering New Haven in the north. Both Pollock and Eaton are black.

For Williams and others, the race of the officers is of minor importance for the greater concern over the police in New Haven and surrounding communities where residents say racial profiling is still a problem.

A 2017 analysis of the Institute of Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University reviewed data from about 560,000 traffic jams from across the state and found that there was an unusually high degree of black and Latin drivers being pulled over.

In an earlier analysis, Hamden was identified as an outlier city where more minority drivers sought their cars sought for significantly higher prices and researchers found significant racial differences.

“I don’t think many white people even realize what it feels like to run through a white community that is black,” Williams members of the Hamden Legislative Council told a community listening forum on Monday night. Behind him, a group of older black men nodded in agreement.

The Associated Press reported in 2017 that the city’s former chief of police, Thomas Wydra, had told his officers in informal talks to cut down on defective equipment stops because data showed black drivers were more likely than whites to be pulled over for these crimes.

Hamden police did not respond to a request for comment.

Rhonda Caldwell, an organizer with the Hamden parents group Anti-Bias Anti-Racism, said There are still two different realities for the residents of the city 60,900, which, according to census data, is almost 70 percent white and 20 percent black and where the median household income is $ 66 600.

“What happened to Paul and Stephanie could have happened to me, my child or any other black person in this room today,” she said on the forum, adding that the redlining of blocks – in which federal agencies in the 1930s did it Possible for discriminatory lending practices the disenfranchised black home buyers – created segregation and racially divided attitudes that occur in New Haven and its majority white suburbs.

A public housing project in New Haven, a city of approximately 130,000 residents, became national attention in 2014, when The New York Times reported the demolition of a 12-foot chain link used to demarcate the neighborhood of Hamden.

Residents considered the fortress around the housing project, which is predominantly black, as a symbol of the greater inequalities between Hamden and New Haven. The area of ​​New Haven had been plagued by crime, drugs and poverty. According to The Times, the port’s median income was more than four times higher than the average in New Haven’s housing project.

New Haven, of which about one in four residents live in poverty and the part of the Hamden bordering the city represents a microcosm of housing policy and the income gap that persists throughout the United States, says David Canton, Professor of History at Connecticut College.

Canton, who moved to Hamden from another part of the state more than 10 years ago, said there is a noticeable link between Yale and the working class neighborhood in New Haven where unemployment is somewhat behind the state.

“I call it Yale Haven,” Canton said. “Yale and these other Ivy League schools are in a land grab competition competing for equity funds and land. They want to buy real estate to build expensive apartments, luxury accommodations with gym and coffee homes and yoga studies. They argue that they upscale neighborhoods and gentrifying, but the reality is just for those who can afford it. “

New Haven and Hamden team members marched to the Hamden Police Department to protest against the scotch of Stephanie Washington and Paul Witherspoon III. Robbie Short

A 2016 report in the Nation touched on how activists wanted Yale to commit to creating qualitative jobs for the residents.

“Getting workers one foot in the door is a modest step towards leveling the city’s historically skewed economic landscape,” the report says.

At a community forum in February, Janet Lindner, vice president of staff and administration at Yale, said that the university employed more than 2,500 residents over the past three years and that 43 percent were black or latino. Activists, however, criticized that some of the works are in construction or contract positions that are temporary.

The shot near the Yales campus has also raised questions about how the university’s police control works and why an officer struck a weapon in an off campus meeting.

A petition circulating around the school requires Pollock’s dismissal and Yale to donate financially to Witherspoon and Washington, including for her medical expenses. While Witherspoon was not injured during the officer’s crossfire, Washington was a hospital with life-threatening injuries, officials said.

The New Haven police arrived at the scene after the firing of the shots.

The state police in Connecticut said last week that the officers engaged their weapons when the driver “left the vehicle abruptly” and turned to them. After releasing Eaton’s body scam on Tuesday, after several days of protesting police responsibilities, state guardian James Rovella could not explain why the officers started firing after ordering the driver to open the car door. Witherspoon could be seen on Eaton’s body mate who left his car at that moment.

Eaton only hit the body comb after the shot, and Pollock failed to put on.

Witherspoon, who has not proven to be armed, has not been charged. The state police and the Connecticut state law firm are still investigating the case, Rovella said, and both officials remain on paid administrative law.

The black students for disarmament at Yale said it favors that school officers are unarmed and restricted where they can patrol off campus. The group on Friday plans to march students’ complaints to the Yale Police Department.

Yale did not answer questions about the student’s complaint, but Lindner said in an email to the Yale community that the school “engages outside expert” to help with their own investigation of the shot.

“Shooting was a tragedy, and Yale offers his heartfelt feelings of concern for Washington, Mr Witherspoon and their families. We all want a fair result,” Lindner wrote.

Faith leaders in New Haven have credited the Yale Police Department, Chief Ronnell Higgins, who is black, trying to create a better relationship with their power and the public.

But it was a setback last year when a white student called the campus police on a black Yale student who had been snatched into a common room. The meeting led Yale to apologize and commit to creating a more inclusive campus environment.

John Lewis, pastor of Life Center Ministries in New Haven and a non-violence trainer with the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence, said local police need additional training on de-escalation tactics as well as “returning humanity back to the image.”

“In our society there is violence? Yes. Is it poverty? Yes. Are there differences? Yes. But when you shop With a situation that happens, you need to get a little more empathy,” says Lewis. . You must be more committed from the beginning instead of assuming that each person is a threat. “In January, New Haven officials approved the formation of a civilian investigation body to oversee and independently investigate alleged police crimes – an effort of more than 20

New Haven Police did not return a request for comment.

Canton said the underlying issue of race cannot be ignored in last week’s shot even though both the officers involved and the driver of the car and passenger are black

Officer generally rarely faced prosecution in police intermittent scoundrels and color groups are cautious that the White Officer in particular is not held responsible for the death of unarmed black people, Canton added.

But for the black officers in the middle of the New Haven shooting, the question whether they will face any fees or consequences – and what it says about

“Erik Ortiz

You ik Ortiz is an NBC news staff writer who focuses on rage injustice and social inequality. “

” Anyway, Canton says, “they are in a hard place. “.

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