DENVER (CBS4) – After the Denver District Attorney announced officers were legally justified in the shooting death of William DeBose, dozens of protesters took to the streets of downtown Denver, claiming the DA got it wrong. DeBose’s father, Walter DeBose, addressed the crowd, saying he believed his son wasn’t trying to shoot at officers, as the DA had described.

“My son is dead, he was shot to death for running for his life, and possibly throwing the gun away, that’s what he was trying to do, he was running for his life, to try to throw that gun away,” Walter DeBose said. “He’s not trying to turn around to shoot at three officers, come on, that doesn’t make any sense.”

Thursday, DA Beth McCann announced body cam video cleared officers of any wrongdoing in killing William DeBose on May 1.

(credit: GoFundMe)

Video of the incident, released Thursday, shows after police tried unsuccessfully to stop DeBose for speeding on Interstate 70, they caught up with him on West Colfax Avenue. DeBose parked his car and ran.

Police body camera video appears to show DeBose taking out a gun, turning around, and pointing it at officers. Four shots are fired, and DeBose falls to the ground.

McCann said because he pointed the gun at officers, police had the legal right to use deadly force against DeBose.

“Unfortunately, the deceased chose to retrieve a gun and point it at the officer, during this chase, so in that circumstance, our Colorado law allows a police officer, actually anyone for that matter, to use deadly physical force, because of the fear of imminent danger,” McCann said. “I will note that the gun was fully loaded, Mr. DeBose’s gun was fully loaded, and there was round in the chamber. So, it was ready to fire.”

(credit: Denver Police)

But DeBose’s father doesn’t believe his son was pointing the gun at officers.

“I cannot believe her decision, you cannot hardly see the important parts of the video, how did she come to that conclusion?” Walter DeBose told CBS4. “With what I’m seeing, my son was not trying to hurt anyone, he was trying to get away, and run for his life.”

If you would like to watch the full police videos released by the DA’s office Thursday, click here.

Kati Weis

Comments (7)
  1. Kim says:


  2. Revolutions are not waged one crime at a time.

  3. Jack Perisich says:

    Why was he “running for his life”? Why not just do what the officers ask and go to court. He was speeding and being dangerous and needed to be stopped. There was no reason to run and no reason to even THINK about pulling out a loaded gun. He got what he deserved. Black or white or any race, that was the victim’s fault. These kids just have not figured this out yet.

  4. Of course Walter Debose is distraught and his claim reflects his distress. The video of the incident is not clear, but it does not serve to inculpate officers. The PSL is more interested in rabble-rousing than in ousting McCann (which can’t be accomplished for four-and-a-half more years, if then) but it makes way more sense to focus on murders committed by police than on justifiable killings. One can imagine law enforcement not conducted so much at the point of a gun, but most accept that cops faced with armed adversaries may rightfully shoot them. “Justice for William Debose” — the slogan is not empty, if one considers the broader context of justice, but as a rallying cry against wrongful killings by police and the DA, it’s a disaster.

    1. romeo says:

      First of all, the guy was chased by police officers. He had plenty of time to throw that gun away.

      Second, when cops arrived, he had 2 options and he choose the wrong one again.

      Third, when you slow down the video, you can see him pointing his hand at the officer right before the shots. At that point, even if it were a pencil, he would still be shot. However, a gun with his fingerprints fell immediately to the ground right next to him and you can clearly see that gun there.

      Fourth, our police officers don’t go to work to kill people. I will never believe that. They are fine people who do the job that most don’t want to do because the pay measly, you have to assume huge risks, and you have to pay a huge psychological toll. The same people who vilify our LEOs are the ones who have never served our people a single day in their pathetic lives, not as cops, not as military servicemembers, and not as civilian servants.

      And finally, I am disgusted by the fact that there was a protest. We don’t need protests and we don’t need reforms. We need people raised with ethics, morals, respect, integrity, and humility. We also need for people to learn how to own their outcomes.

  5. Common Sence says:

    The father’s grief has blinded him to the FACT that his son was trying to kill a police offer.

  6. N a says:

    Good riddance. The father is absolutely delusional like most of the United States.

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