082319-news-rally 02.JPG

Greg Bailey, the father of De’Von Bailey, wears a shirt with a photograph of his son and the phrase “My son, My Beginning” on the front while he spoke in front of a crowd of supporters


People in El Paso County want to hear from Gov. Jared Polis on an officer-involved shooting, and the request is coming from his allies at the El Paso County Democratic Party.

Polis, a Democrat, however, doesn't wish to politicize the shooting, his staff says.

"The governor has already shared his feelings that Colorado Springs residents would be best served by an independent review of the events surrounding De’Von Bailey’s death," says a statement Thursday from Conor Cahill, a spokesman for Polis.

"To that end, he believes this conversation has no place in partisan politics.”

Polis called for an independent investigation in August. The FBI also is currently reviewing the case.

Jacqueline Armendariz, the second vice chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party, said the Democrats were acting as concerned citizens, first, not as politicos.

"We're member of the community, so this is about community work," she said. "Obviously politicians have power and so we're going to reach out to those who have power to help our community."

The El Paso County Democrats' executive officers provided reporters a letter they sent to the state Democratic Party asking for the governor to talk about the Aug. 3 shooting of De’Von Bailey, the 19-year-old who ran away from police while he was being questioned by officers.

Bailey was shot in the back after officers said they thought he was reaching for a gun. Police body camera video showed he was hiding a pistol in his waistband.

The El Paso County Democrats asked Morgan Carroll, their state party chair, in the letter to use "our ties" to the Democratic governor to schedule a town hall on the police shooting, appoint a special prosecutor in this case and issue an executive order instructing the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to conduct a special investigation.

One of the officers involved in the Bailey shooting was cleared in a fatal shooting involving an unarmed man in 2012.

The letter provided to the press Thursday was dated Sept. 15.

"This letter is sent to express an urgent need for the Colorado Democratic Party to live its values at a truly grassroots level," it begins. "The Colorado Springs community has asked the Democratic Party's help to demand justice following the police shooting death of De'Von Bailey. Local organizers let it be known our party's involvement is crucial for both life and safety, as well as the health of our local democracy.

"The work of the community following the tragic death of De'Von Bailey is the work of our party. We must do our part as Democrats."

The El Paso Democrats continued: "Gov. Polis should know that without a town hall for follow through, many Colorado Springs voters have told us his statement on Bailey's death will be viewed as nothing more than the political pandering our party is so often accused of when it comes to people of color. Moreover, Bailey died from bullet wounds. The impact of gun violence festers throughout our nation. Colorado knows this wound profoundly."

Colorado Politics senior political reporter

Joey Bunch is the senior correspondent and deputy managing editor of Colorado Politics. His 32-year career includes the last 16 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and he is a two-time finalist.

Comments disabled.