DENVER (CBS4) — At 6 p.m. Friday, protesters at the Colorado State Capitol focused attention on the deadly police shooting of 21-year-old William DeBose in Denver. After more than a month of asking to see the body cam video from that night, his family was able to watch it on Thursday.
Family members say DeBose was running from police when he was shot and killed near West Colfax Avenue and Federal Boulevard the night of May 1. Denver police claim DeBose pointed a loaded weapon at the officers. His common-law wife, Sierra Martinez, was with him and disputes that.
Martinez says her husband said he was scared when the police pulled them over for speeding on Interstate 70.
“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.”
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.
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.
The DeBose family watched the video Thursday night. Their attorney told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger that you can hear an officer say “He’s got a gun,” but you do not see DeBose turn and point a gun at an officer. The video does show a gun near DeBose after he was shot by police.
William’s father, Walter DeBose, 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.
The attorney for the family, Birk Baumgartner, is calling for an independent investigation beyond the district attorney and Denver police.
On Friday evening, several hundred people protested in front of the state Capitol.