COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The officers who shot and killed a 19-year-old in Colorado Springs were justified, according to a grand jury. District Attorney Dan May made the announcement Wednesday evening.
De’Von Bailey was fatally shot by Colorado Springs Police officers on Aug. 3. The officers were responding to a reported robbery in the neighborhood and wanted to question Bailey and another man.
Police Body camera footage shows Bailey running off after officers said he’d be searched for weapons. Officers shot him three times in the back and once in the arm. Police said they did find a gun in his pocket.
Since the incident, friends and family have called for an independent investigation into whether or not the shooting was justified. Mari Newman, the attorney for the Bailey family issued a statement Wednesday in response to the verdict.
“It is certainly not a surprise to get a bad result when a tainted investigation is presented by a biased prosecutor. This is the exact reason why we have called for an independent investigation and an independent prosecution from the beginning,” stated Newman.
In October, Newman told CBS4 she believes there are too many close ties between local prosecutors and Colorado Springs Police. She also said the family met with Governor Jared Polis, who previously called for an independent review into the shooting.
In a statement Wednesday night, Colorado Police Chief Vince Niski thanked the community for their patience and called the shooting a “devastating event.”
“We believe in open communication and partnership with our residents, and we fully acknowledge that there has been confusion and frustration surrounding this incident; especially the limited amount of information that could be released to the public,” stated Chief Niski. “I wish we were able to immediately provide answers in the early stages of the investigation, but we have an obligation to follow the process set forth by law and ensure first and foremost the integrity of the case and that a thorough, fair and truthful investigation is able to be completed.”
The shooting of De’Von Bailey was a tipping point for Colorado Rep. Leslie Herod. The Vice Chair of the Colorado House Judiciary Committee told CBS4’s Shaun Boyd she will introduce legislation changing how all deadly force cases involving police are investigated. Herod said she may also change Colorado’s “fleeing felon” law, which allows officers to use deadly force to prevent someone from escaping if they think that person is dangerous.
“Too many law enforcement officers are acting outside of what we believe they should be using their badge for and not being held accountable,” Herod said.
Herod wants a state commission lead by citizens or an entity like the Attorney General’s Office or Colorado Bureau of Investigation. She also plans to raise the bar used to justify deadly force.
George Brauchler, 18th Judicial District Attorney, told CBS4 officers are held to the same standard as everyone else.
“I just think that’s a huge, reckless mistake,” Brauchler said. “For them to change the standard is for them to say we want to see more police officers accused of crimes and prosecuted and, gosh darn it, under the laws that apply to everyone of us that standard is just too darn high so we want to change it so we can go after the cops.”