That’s when Bailey bolted, sprinting down the street away from police. “Hands up!” the pursuing officers yelled. And then they unleashed a volley of gunfire.
Bailey was hit three times in the back and once in the right arm in the Aug. 3 incident, according to a coroner’s report, and later died in the hospital. Police said they recovered a gun at the scene, and said the officers who fired — Van’t Land and Officer Blake Evenson — saw Bailey reaching toward his waist as he ran.
But Bailey’s family on Thursday reiterated demands for an independent probe into his death, alleging that the newly released body-cam footage supports their claim that the teen was no threat as he sprinted away.
“Mr. Bailey was trying desperately to flee from the police. He did not have any weapon in his hand, and he had not shown any weapon when he was shot in the back and killed,” Darold Killmer, one of the family’s attorneys, told reporters at a news conference.
The Colorado Springs Police Department has declined to comment on the case to local media, citing an ongoing investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The graphic body-camera footage has drawn new scrutiny to a case that has sparked fiery protests, including one where two bail bondsmen were arrested after drawing weapons in a scuffle with demonstrators, in a city where police have fatally shot five people this year.
Bailey’s confrontation with police started when a man called police around 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 3 to report that he’d just been robbed by two men, one of whom had pointed a gun at him. He described the men and said he knew their nicknames and where they lived.
Soon afterward, police stopped Bailey and another man, who hasn’t been identified. At 6:57 p.m., Bailey was shot as he ran away, according to police scanners. Body-cam footage showed the teen collapsed on the ground and police handcuffed him before asking for a med kit.
The three shots that entered Bailey’s back hit his left lung and his heart, killing him.
Killmer argued that the video backs up those assertions, and suggested police had no urgent need to arrest Bailey if they believed him to be the robbery suspect, since the witness said he knew where he lived.
“He was doing everything in his power … to get away,” he said. “That is what he was doing.”
Two days after Bailey’s death, dozens of protesters descended on the Colorado Springs Police Department. A fight broke out when two white men on motorcycles rolled up and yelled, “All lives matter,” the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. The men, who are brothers and were both wearing bulletproof vests, were arrested after pulling guns.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers (R) urged calm and patience with the investigation.
“[We] recognize the concerns of many citizens of our community following the officer-involved shooting of Devon Bailey,” he said in a statement last week. “We know that there can be frustration with the time this takes, but we cannot compromise the investigation by failing to spend the appropriate time gathering the facts; that would serve no one.”
But on Thursday, Killmer argued that the investigation was flawed. Noting the family’s demand for an independent probe, he suggested that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Springs police have a “conflict of interest” as they regularly investigate each other’s fatal shootings.
“You hand off the investigation to your friends,” he said, “and things come out okay.”
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