Nearly 2,000 people are asking state Attorney General Phil Weiser for an independent investigation into the Aug. 3 officer-involved shooting that killed a young black man in Colorado Springs.
That many people had signed a petition on OrganizeFor.org as of Monday evening, demanding a separate probe into the slaying of 19-year-old De’Von Bailey, who was shot in the back as he ran from two officers.
The petition was created by Shaun Walls, who is working closely with Bailey’s family.
Walls and at least seven other prominent members of the black community plan to present the petition to Weiser at his office Tuesday morning.
“We just want to get an official response from him, and we want him to read the issues we are having as a community,” Walls said. “We don’t know if that is being communicated to him.”
The petition calls for an independent prosecutor to investigate the shooting and for evidence to be presented to a grand jury. It says ties between the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Springs Police Department have jeopardized investigators’ impartiality.
The petition, asserting that the Sheriff’s Office is “not qualified to conduct an unbiased investigation,” notes that former Police Chief Pete Carey served more than 30 years with CSPD before changing agencies to become undersheriff.
The petition also urges the creation of a citizen review board to monitor future investigations into police misconduct.
The Attorney General’s Office office did not return The Gazette’s request for comment.
The Sheriff’s Office concluded its investigation Thursday and passed its findings to the District Attorney’s Office, which will rule whether the shooting was justified.
The same day, police released body camera footage that shows Sgt. Alan Van’t Land confront Bailey and his cousin over a reported armed robbery and ask them to put their hands up.
As Officer Blake Evenson approaches Bailey for a pat down, Bailey runs. Yelling “Hands up! Show me your hands,” both officers shoot at Bailey until he collapses.
An autopsy report showed that four bullets struck Bailey: three in his back and one in his elbow.
Attorneys for Bailey’s family reiterated their demand for an independent probe at a news conference hours after the footage was released.
“We’re hoping that we can do it cordially at first, but if not, we’re going to gather folks and make him listen to us,” Walls said of the request. He said he anticipates protests until the attorney general agrees to assign an independent investigation.
“We’re giving (Weiser) the benefit of the doubt that he does want to do the right thing, but it is still yet to be determined.”
Reach Olivia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @oliviaprentzel