Stephanie Washington was black, innocent and unarmed. But the police shot – and nearly killed her – anyway.
The 22-year-old was driving in the passenger seat of her boyfriend's red Honda Civic, in New Haven, Connecticut, when they were surrounded by officers from two different police departments.
According to police accounts, the Hamden and Yale University officers — both outside of their respective jurisdictions — stopped the Honda because it was believed to have been used in an attempted robbery. When they blocked the car, Witherspoon left the vehicle and so the officers opened fire, hitting Washington.
Yet, the police account doesn't seem to hold water. Video recorded by a neighbor contradicts the police's story that Witherspoon "exited the vehicle in an abrupt manner." The video shows a red Honda slowly coming to a stop; a police vehicle blocking it in. A cop steps out and approaches the vehicle with a gun drawn and within seconds, he is unloading the magazine into the car.
Washington was taken to the hospital where she is being treated for a non-life threatening bullet wound and Witherspoon was taken to the police station but was released shortly afterward with absolutely NO charges.
It is only by sheer luck that neither Washington nor Witherspoon were killed. Over the past several years we have seen too many innocent black and brown slain at the hands of trigger-happy police officers.
While the two officers involved in the shooting have been put on leave. For many, that is not enough. City residents and Yale students are now demanding action and accountability. Protests have formed and students have started a petition. It demands that Yale fire the policeman, disarm all other officers, make public the investigation and make a financial contribution to Black Lives Matter Global Network "in opposition to state-sanctioned violence" against black communities.
Stand with the students of Yale and those citizens of Hamden and New Haven who demand justice and accountability. Sign the petition and show your support in demanding that Yale take action to comply with the student body's petition.