Body camera footage in a fatal police shooting of a black man suspected in an armed robbery last weekend will be released by the end of next week, city and law enforcement officials said Friday.
In a joint statement, the Colorado Springs Police Department and the city said body cam video would be made public as soon as the investigation is wrapped up and the findings turned over to the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the shooting as a neutral agency, said Thursday it expected to finish by nextnext Friday.
The DA will decide whether the shooting was justified and if the officers involved will face criminal charges.
“As the releasing authority, CSPD has committed to releasing the footage only at such a time when it will not jeopardize or compromise the investigative or judicial process,” the statement Friday said.
Pressure to release the body cam video has been building since witnesses came forward to claim that De’Von Bailey, 19, had been shot in the back while fleeing from police officers and that they did not see him with a weapon.
Police have said he reached for a weapon and that a gun was recovered at the scene.
The Gazette obtained surveillance video from a nearby apartment building that corroborated at least part of their accounts — it showed Bailey running, then crumpling to the ground as two officers with their guns drawn come up from behind him.
Since the surveillance video surfaced, the decision to withhold the body cam footage has been criticized by Bailey’s relatives and others who say he was a victim of police brutality and racial discrimination.
About 60 people marched Monday from City Hall to the Police Operations Center chanting, “No peace, no justice.” Some held signs that read: “Killing is not the way to ‘protect and serve,’” and, “Shooting people in the back is murder.”
The latest calls follow statements earlier in the week from Mayor John Suthers, in which he said he supported releasing the body cam video as soon as possible, while acknowledging the timing was up to the Sheriff’s Office and DA.
On Friday, the regional chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also released a statement signed by its president, Rosemary Lytle, several pastors and other community leaders condemning the Police Department and the mayor for not releasing the body cam video.
“We believe that for the sake of justice and true public safety, the investigation itself should be conducted as openly and as independently as possible,” the statement read.
“We know that investigations are not magically conducted and also realize that this is tough, tough work. Our history in this city as it relates to policing, especially the policing of black bodies, tells us that there are no easy answers.”
The El Paso County commissioners also issued the following statement Friday:
“In order for the community to heal and come together, the investigation must be done correctly,” read the statement. “To that end, we support transparency and the release of the footage.”
“The fabric of our community is strong and working together in difficult times will make us even stronger,” said El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez in the release. “While we wait for answers, I urge everyone to come together and show the nation that El Paso County can get through these tough times the right way.”
The Gazette’s request for the body cam footage was rejected by the Police Department, which stated that the public interest in the video did not outweigh the need to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Bailey was the fifth person killed by police officers in Colorado Springs this year. Two of the shootings have been ruled justified by the DA’s Office, while the other three, including Bailey, are under investigation.
Bailey and a cousin, Lawrence Stoker, also 19, were stopped by several officers near Adams Elementary School last Saturday night after an armed robbery was reported in the 2400 block of East Fountain Boulevard.
Stoker, who was not charged in the reported robbery, told The Gazette that Bailey had a gun on him, but did not reach for it before bolting from the officers.
The names of the officers involved in the shooting have not been released. They have been placed on administrative leave, which is routine whenever deadly force is used.
Click here for the rest of The Gazette’s coverage on the officer-involved shooting.