Students Demand Yale Disarm Campus Police, Accuse Officers of ‘State Sanctioned Violence’

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Students at Yale University are demanding that the school disarm its campus police “in opposition to state-sanctioned violence” after a shooting that wounded one woman who police believed was involved in an attempted armed robbery.

Yale University students are circulating a petition and calling on the school to disarm its police, as well as donate money to Black Lives Matter, claiming that police have carried out “state-sanctioned violence” after a shooting last week that had wounded one woman, Stephanie Washington, who police believed was involved in an armed robbery, according to The Hartford Courant.

“Armed campus police are a risk to the students they are sworn to protect and to the communities in which schools reside,” states the petition addressed to Yale University president Peter Salovey, “There is an epidemic of police violence and police brutality in this country, and this shooting all too tragically shows that Yale is not immune to this issue.”

“We will not allow the Yale Police Department to contribute to this epidemic by acting violently against members of the community that we have chosen from all over this country and the world,” affirms the petition, before listing its three demands.

The three demands include the immediate termination of the Yale officer involved in the shooting, all video footage of the incident being released to the public, and for the university to make a financial donation “of at least $40,000” to Washington and her boyfriend.

“They will require a large monetary contribution to deal with both the immediate medical expenses, lost wages, long term care, and other indirect costs of suffering from this trauma,” states the petition.

Student organizations at Yale are also demanding for immediate action to be taken, echoing the demands in the petition, as well as demanding that the school disarm the campus police.

“We demand the termination of the officer involved in the incident, the immediate disarmament and demilitarization of the Yale Police, and a public reconciliation of their budgets, funding, policies, practices,” reads a joint statement by the Yale Black Men’s Union and Black Women’s Coalition.

Students are also demanding that Yale make a financial donation to Black Lives Matter Global Network “in opposition to state-sanctioned violence” against black communities, according to The Hartford Courant.

Terrance Pollock — the officer involved in the shooting — is also black, and had been injured in the confrontation as well. The officer is reported to be in stable condition. Washington, who had been injured after being struck with at least one bullet, has been released from the hospital.

Protesters gathered outside of the Yale president’s home last week, where they chanted “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” and “Yale police, off our streets” to the Yale police officers who had been standing at the gate in front of the residence, according to The Hartford Courant.

Yale University released a statement on Wednesday, updating the campus community with more information regarding the incident.

“A Yale police officer patrolling campus in the Science Park area responded to a call to assist a Hamden police officer,” reads the statement, “The Hamden police officer appears to have been looking for a vehicle based on a 911 call reporting that a person driving the vehicle had a gun.”

“The Yale police officer who responded is Terrance Pollock, a 16-year veteran of the department,” continues the university, “Tragically, the police response resulted in a woman, who was a passenger in the vehicle, being shot. She was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment. Fortunately, her injury was not life-threatening.”

“Yale police officers are trained to interact with community members in a respectful and professional manner. Many of our officers are from the New Haven community, and all of them take great pride in how they engage with the community, both on and off duty.”

The statement concludes by informing the campus community that Yale University is fully cooperating in an investigation being conducted by the State’s Attorney’s Office and the  Connecticut State Police.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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