DENVER (CBS4) – What started as a pursuit for speeding on Interstate 70 came to a violent end near West Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard the night of May 1. William DeBose, 21, was fleeing police on foot when he was shot and killed. His common-law wife Sierra Martinez was with him.
“William started to run,” Martinez told CBS4. “Two officers ran after him, one pointed his gun and said don’t move, and ran after him and started shooting.”
Martinez disputes the Denver police claim that DeBose pointed a loaded weapon at the officers.
Lt. Matt Clark with Denver Police spoke during a news conference three days after the incident.
“An officer was within approximately 10 feet from the individual,” Clark said. “He produced a handgun from his waistband, a semi automatic handgun, and pointed it towards an officer.”
Clark said a gun was found near DeBose. Now more than five weeks later, DeBose’s family said they have still not been allowed to view the police body camera video from that night.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” William’s father, Walter DeBose, told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger. “It’s just unbelievable that my son has been killed like that and there’s no answers.”
The District Attorney’s office said that to release the body camera video before the investigation is complete would be a disservice to the integrity of the probe.
“Give us the information that we need. Give us some closure. Help us sleep better at night,” said William’s mother, Williemae Debose.
Walter believes his son was targeted because of his race.
“I know he profiled my son because my son had some elastic shorts on,” he said.
While a gang officer was involved the incident, police went out of their way to say there was no reason to suspect gang involvement.
The autopsy on the 21-year-old’s body has still not been released.
Martinez says her husband ran after telling her he was scared when the police pulled them over. She said William will be missed greatly.
“He was such a good father and they took an innocent black man’s life away from his children’s lives,” Martinez said.
The attorney for the family, Birk Baumgartner, is calling for an independent investigation beyond the district attorney and Denver police.
The Colorado State Senate nearly unanimously approved a bill that would require body camera video to be turned over within 21 days of an incident, such as the shooting death of William DeBose. The bill will now move on to the Colorado House of Representatives.