HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) - The family of a man who is at the center of an officer-involved shooting that happened in New Haven earlier this month said they are tired of others speaking for them.

Paul Witherspoon's mother, Keisha Greene, and uncle, Rodney Williams, said they believe more needs to be done for the community.

On April 16, the police shooting involving a Hamden officer and a Yale University officer left Witherspoon's passenger, Stephanie Washington, with injuries.

Both Hamden officer Devin Eaton and Yale officer Terrance Pollock fired at a car they believed to be involved in a reported armed robbery attempt in Hamden.

Inside the vehicle, which was in New Haven, was an unarmed couple, investigators revealed.

While Washington was hurt, Witherspoon was not.

Witherspoon told investigators he was following orders to get out of the car with the bullets flew.

Last week, state police, which is leading the investigation, released body cam video in an effort to be transparent.

Meanwhile, community groups in New Haven and Hamden continue to seek change and healing following the incident, including the firing of Eaton and Pollock.

However, Greene and Williams said those groups shouldn't speak for them.

"I’m seeing a lot these guys up here and I don’t know who they are, they’ve never reached out me, called me, pray for my son, to ask what could they do to help him," Greene said. "I don’t want them to use this situation with my son as a catalyst for their own agenda. This community needs help.”

Greene said she had a great dialogue with Hamden's mayor, an opportunity for which she's thankful.

On Monday afternoon, three community groups voiced their concerns and demands for new methods to police by way of writing.

For the past two weeks, the community responded by protesting in the streets.

This week, they're shifting from prayers to letters.

The groups said the shooting furthered division and mistrust between law enforcement and the community.

Organized by the group Hamden Action Now, who wanted to take a different approach in making their voices heard.

“They want to feel safe too, they’re concerned about their citizens, their concerned about themselves and I think its really powerful," said Briana Williams.

After a week of protests, community leaders took action in a different way over the weekend. A special Sunday prayer service brought the community from two towns, its leaders and law enforcement together.

"These people are hurting, rightfully so, and I just want to make sure that people feel that we are part of the community also," said John Cappiello, acting police chief, Hamden Police Department. "Hamden, New Haven, it's still one community."

On Monday, the protesters left the streets and headed straight into the Hamden mayor's office. 

The demonstrators eventually got their wish when Hamden Mayor Curt Balanzo Leng came out to listen. 

Leng said he doesn't have the power to fire Easton even though he feels it would be the right decision. 

"I have seen enough to say that I don't think that Officer Eaton should be a Hamden Police Officer any longer," Leng said. 

Michael Matthews says last August his son was a passenger in a car where Hamden police say the car was stolen, and officers gave chase.

The driver eventually crashed into a tree near the New Haven/East Haven line.

Matthews says seeing what happened recently to Witherspoon and Washington was not easy.

“It brings up all the emotions and all, just everything about the whole incident, when they cross the line and bother New Haven residents. We still haven’t had a response from them yet for what they did,” Matthews said.

He says he doesn’t want anyone to forget his son, and organizers say they won’t.

“Stephanie and Paul are on the map because they bring awareness to other folks who have died, like Jarelle Gibbs in our area, and there are so many other names and we don’t want to forget them,” said Laurie Sweet, of Hamden.

In addition to the state police, which is investigating the April 16 shooting, late last week, Hamden’s mayor said the police department’s ethics and integrity unit would also conduct its own local investigation.

Both officers remain on administrative leave.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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