Attorneys representing the 19-year-old black man shot and killed by police Aug. 3 reiterated their call for an independent investigation Thursday after Colorado Springs police released footage from the cameras worn by officers.
“Police argue that they shot Mr. Bailey because they said he was going for a gun at the time,” said Darold Killmer, who represents the family of De’Von Bailey. “The video shows otherwise.”
The body camera video showed at least one officer fire several bullets at Bailey as he turned and ran and blood spreading from a wound in his back.
Moments before, the officer had been questioning Bailey and another man later identified as his cousin, Lawrence Stoker, about a reported armed robbery and ordered them to raise their hands while they were searched for weapons.
The Bailey family did not attend the news conference held by their attorney, who said they were making funeral arrangements.
Killmer claimed that the video clearly shows police resorted to deadly force against their training to only do so if they or someone else is in imminent danger.
“Officers are trained to be restrained on their use of deadly force. ... In this instance the video shows that there was no evidence that anyone was imminently at risk of being killed or harmed,” Killmer said.
In an online statement, the Bailey’s attorneys cited a U.S. Supreme Court case, Tennessee v. Garner, in which the ruling stated:
“’The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable. It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape. Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so.’”
In audio released by police, a 911 caller tells the operator he can point out where the two suspects of the alleged armed robbery live. Killmer said that showed officers knew where to find Bailey and could have apprehended him later if he had escaped.
“The price we pay for that type of freedom is that time-to-time a suspect might escape,” he said.
The Bailey family’s attorneys have previously called for an independent investigation, specifically by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
Killmer said Thursday that Colorado Springs police should be “happy to turn the investigation over” to an independent agency if they have nothing to hide.
“Only in this way can the community have confidence that this has been a fair investigation,” he said.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating the shooting, and will turn over its findings to the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which will decide if it was justified under state law and if the officers involved will face criminal charges.
As the family prepares to bury their son tomorrow, Killmer said the most revealing aspect of the video is that Bailey did not appear to reach for a weapon when running from the police.
“Fleeing from the police is not a capital offense,” he said.