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Hamden officer pleads guilty to assault charge in April 2019 New Haven shooting, resigns

He is expected to serve 18 months in jail, followed by three years of probation.

HAMDEN, Conn — The Hamden police officer who wounded a woman in a parked car during an investigation has pleaded guilty. 

Patrick J. Griffin, New Haven State’s Attorney, said Thursday that Hamden Police Officer Devin Eaton, 32, pleaded nolo contendere to one count of Assault in the First Degree.

He pleaded under the Alford doctrine, meaning he doesn’t agree with all the evidence but acknowledges there’s enough for a conviction.

Under the terms of the plea, Eaton faces a total effective sentence of five years in jail, where he will be released after eighteen months, followed by three years of probation. Eaton still has the right to argue for a lesser sentence at the time of sentencing based upon the results of a pre-sentence investigation and any mitigating evidence he may present. Sentencing is scheduled for April 8.

The union representative advised town officials that Eaton will immediately resign from his job, the Hamden mayor's office announced Thursday evening.

RELATED: Judge blocks civil hearing over Hamden officer’s potential firing

On April 16, 2019, Hamden police were investigating a report of a possible armed robbery at a gas station.  

While investigating, police found a car suspected to be involved on Argyle Street and Dixwell Avenue over the town line in New Haven. Paul Witherspoon III, 21, and his girlfriend, Stephanie Washington, 22, were in the car.

Eaton and Yale University officer Terrance Pollock confronted the suspects of the car. Shots were fired by police. Washington was shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Witherspoon was not injured.

RELATED: Hamden man, target of 2019 police shooting arrested on gun charges

Pollock, a 16-year veteran, sustained an injury during the shooting. He was treated and released at a local hospital after a source says he was shot in one of his legs. 

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 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.

Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.


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