Police arrested twin white bail bondsmen Monday after they brandished their guns at a crowd of more than 60 people protesting police brutality in front of police headquarters in downtown Colorado Springs.
A fight broke out after the brothers in bulletproof vests pulled up on motorcycles and yelled “All lives matter” at the protesters, who were demanding justice for 19-year-old De’Von Bailey, a black man fatally shot by police Saturday.
“They got guns. Shoot them,” a protester yelled at police as officers pushed the bondsmen to the ground and handcuffed them.
Nearly 40 protesters earlier crowded the entrance of the Police Operations Center, chanting, “No peace, no justice.” Some banged their fists against the large glass windows while a dozen officers stared back from inside.
One woman pushed her palms and forehead against the glass door, crying while the crowd behind her yelled. More protesters stood outside, holding signs that read: “Killing is not the way to ‘protect and serve’” and “Shooting people in the back is murder.”
The protest was heated but nonviolent until the bondsmen arrived. Dustin W. Brooks and Justin J. Brooks, both 33, are being held on suspicion of disorderly conduct, said police spokesman Jim Sokolik. No other arrests were made, and no injuries were reported.
With the protesters still agitated, at least 17 riot police stood with clear glass shields 50 feet from the crowd at Rio Grande Street and Nevada Avenue.
At least 30 uniformed officers lined up in front of the operations center at 705 S. Nevada Ave. as protesters in the street raised their fists into the air.
“Say his name,” they chanted. “De’Von Bailey.”
After about a 10-minute standoff, police ordered everyone to leave.
Police are asking protestors to leave the area. About 17 officers with clear shields are standing at the corner of Rio Grande and Nevada about 50 feet in front of the angry protesters. More than 30 officers are lined up along the Police Operations Center. pic.twitter.com/yLVjusS9CQ— Olivia Prentzel (@oliviaprentzel) August 5, 2019
Protesters had started about 11 a.m. at City Hall and marched to police headquarters. A young girl sat near the City Hall steps holding a sign that read: “Sorry for the inconvenience, we’re trying to save the world.”
Protesters chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot” as they walked about a mile down Nevada Avenue. Traffic slowed as drivers read the signs. Some cheered and honked their horns in encouragement.
On the event’s Facebook page, a co-organizer said the demonstration was to be peaceful with “absolutely no violence.”
Luci Wiley said she hoped the rally would bring attention to police brutality in the city.
“We are doing what thoughts and prayers aren’t doing,” Wiley said. “We are standing up.”
Charles Johnson said he grew up with Bailey near McCooke Drive in southeast Colorado Springs. He remembered Bailey as an “amazing football player.” and someone who “just enjoyed life.”
“He always made people happy,” Johnson said. Bailey was very close with his father, he said, and often talked about how he wanted to be a great father to his own child, who is on the way.
Eve Hernandez-Maestas, who helped organize the protest, said Bailey was “super relaxed” and had a lot of friends. He played football at Mitchell High School before he attended Harrison High School, she said.
Monday’s protest followed a much calmer candlelight vigil, where more than 100 family members and friends gathered Sunday night at Adams Park.
At the vigil, Kara Garcia recounted being outside her Preuss Road home Saturday night when she heard someone yell, “Put your hands up.”
She said she saw a man run toward Adams Elementary School, then heard five to seven gunshots. The running man was shot in the back, she said, and she didn’t see a weapon on him before he was shot.
Sokolik declined to comment on witnesses’ accounts but said, “There is some outrageously irresponsible and incorrect information being put out on social media.”
The officers were wearing body cameras at the time, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Natalie Sosa.
The officers were investigating a robbery reported about 6:45 p.m. Saturday in the 2400 block of East Fountain Boulevard, police said.
When the officers spotted two men in the 2100 block of Manitoba Drive, about a half mile north of the reported robbery, one of the men reached for a gun in his waistband, police said in a news release. At least one officer fired at him, police said.
Bailey later died at a hospital, police said Sunday, and the other man was arrested. No information about the reported robbery has been released.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the police shooting, standard protocol to avoid a conflict of interest. Both of the officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is routine whenever deadly force is used, police said.
Bailey is the fifth person killed by police this year. Two of the shootings were ruled justified by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, while the other three, including Bailey’s, remain under investigation.
Angelyna Reed, 18, attended the protest Monday with a sign that read: “I’ll never get to hug my dad again.” Police killed her father, Joshua Vigil, 38, on July 23 near the Garden Apartments, 3165 E. Fountain Blvd.
Officers had gone to the 2200 block of Monterey Road on a “report of a suspicious male walking with a gun,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Vigil fled in a red Mustang and then on foot before police found him inside the apartments.
At least one officer fired at least one shot at Vigil, police said. Footage from body cameras has not been released in this case either.
Reach Olivia at email@example.com. Twitter: @oliviaprentze2