COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The family of 19-year-old De’Von Bailey, who was killed in a police shooting on Aug. 3 in Colorado Springs, on Monday called for an independent investigation into his shooting death and for the immediate release of the body camera videos of the incident.
The Bailey family will also host a news conference Tuesday morning to call for the appointment of an independent special prosecutor in the case or to have the matter referred to a grand jury. They are also asking to be notified of any developments in the case, according the family’s Denver-based attorneys, Darold W. Killmer and Mari Newman.
In a news release on Monday, Killmer said that he believes there is nothing preventing the city from releasing the body camera or dash camera video of the incident and said that releasing the videos would not compromise the investigation.
“Mayor John Suthers said we need ‘time’ and ‘patience’ in allowing the investigation to go forward. However, there are many conflicts of interest in the relationships between the investigating agency (the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office); the agency being investigated (CSPD) and the DA’s Office (which makes the decision to bring charges) that make this an inappropriate request,” the release said. “An independent and impartial special prosecutor should be given the important responsibility of bringing charges against the officers involved in this tragedy.”
Bailey was shot and killed on Aug. 3 by Colorado Springs police, who said he was one of two people involved in a robbery beforehand and that he had reached for a weapon. Officials said at least one officer fired their weapon but did not say how many. Video obtained by Denver7 last week showed the final moments of the incident and showed Bailey falling as he ran from police. The sheriff’s office says investigators recovered a weapon but did not say where. Authorities have not released much other information about the incident or the shooting.
CSPD said last Friday in a joint release with the city that the body camera video of the shooting would be released once the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office investigation is complete and said the video would show the moments before, during and after the shooting.
“As the releasing authority, CSPD has committed to releasing the footage only at a time when it will not jeopardize or compromise the investigative or judicial process. We thank the community for its patience as we work through the process required to effectively investigate an officer-involved shooting,” the police and city’s release said.
Bailey’s family has maintained that he was shot seven times in the back, but authorities have not confirmed how many times he was shot, where on his body he was shot or during which part of the incident with police he was shot.
The surveillance video obtained last week appears to show Bailey’s back was toward police when he fell. The video does not make clear whether Bailey had a weapon at the time he fell.
Killmer told Denver7 that there were at least seven witnesses to the incident and none he and his team had spoken with said they had seen Bailey reach for a weapon.
“Not one of them that we have spoken with witnessed Devon reaching for a gun or doing anything at all threatening to the officers or anyone else,” Killmer said in an email. “Apparently, only the police take that position.”
The Bailey family news conference scheduled for Tuesday is set to take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Colorado Springs Police Operations Center at 702 S. Nevada Ave.
El Paso County issued a statement Friday saying commissioners had heard concerns about the incident from people across the county and supported the release of the body camera video.
“In order for the community to heal and come together, the investigation must be done correctly. To that end, we support transparency and the release of the footage. While CSPD is the ultimate releasing authority, we agree the release of the footage should be done at a time when it will not compromise the integrity of the investigation,” the statement said.
Killmer said a more-independent investigation was the only way for the family to have faith in the investigation into the police shooting.
“Independence and transparency are needed to give confidence in any investigation or decision regarding the prosecution of the officers that killed De’Von Bailey,” he said.