Statement on Police Shootings in Connecticut

The trustees and staff of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund offer heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends and community of Anthony Jose Vega Cruz, who died after being shot multiple times by the Wethersfield police on April 20. We also offer our concern and best wishes for recovery to Paul Witherspoon and Stephanie Washington, who were severely injured after being shot during an encounter with the Hamden, New Haven and Yale University police forces on April 16.

We believe the extrajudicial police killing of people, especially Black and Brown people, is the direct result of generations of institutionalized racism permeating the structure, practices and policies of police departments and the criminal justice system as a whole.

We stand with the protesters who continue to assemble peacefully night after night and the community that sympathizes with them, and echo their demands for transparency, accountability and justice for people who are harmed or killed extrajudicially by the police. We are also sympathetic to the call for all of the jurisdictions involved (Wethersfield, Hamden, Yale University and New Haven) to examine their role and accountability for the culture of over policing that amplifies the way that low income communities of color in Connecticut are left feeling fearful and disrespected by public servants who are supposed to protect and serve their interests.

The Memorial Fund stands in solidarity with people throughout Connecticut and the nation who are brutalized and disempowered by institutionalized and systemic racism.