COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Exactly one week after the Colorado Springs Police Department released the officer-worn body camera video showing De’Von Bailey being shot and killed by officers, his father held a demonstration outside of Colorado Springs City Hall.
“I sit and I think about me having to bury my child behind the people we’re supposed to trust,” said Greg Bailey, De’Von’s father.
On August 3, Colorado Springs police responded to a call of an armed robbery. They contacted two suspects, one of whom was De’Von. An initial report from CSPD says Bailey reached for a gun, though an expert FOX21 spoke with says a gun was never present.
Greg Bailey and one of his attorneys, Mari Newman, were surrounded by dozens of members of the community, as they responded to Gov. Jared Polis’ call for an independent investigation into De’Von’s death.
“Law enforcement agents within the same jurisdiction should not be investigating one another,” Newman said. “It’s just too close, and that doesn’t just benefit the community, it benefits the police too.”
Bailey’s family first called for an outside investigator last week. Specifically, Newman said, they want the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to review the case and Attorney General Phil Weiser to prosecute it.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is the investigating agency in the case. They finished looking into the case last week, and turned it over to the Fourth Judicial District for prosecutorial discretion.
Newman said the EPCSO and CSPD work together too often and too closely to truly be independent.
“We cannot afford to let friends investigate friends,” Newman’s legal partner, Darold Killmer, said at the press conference on August 13.
They also cite personnel changes, saying deputies and police officers start in one department and go to another. Their prime example is EPCSO Undersheriff Pete Carey. Until the beginning of this year, he was Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey.
The sheriff’s office said they followed state statute in conducting their investigation.
Shaun Walls, who didn’t know De’Von but lives near where he was killed, started an online petition on Organizefor.org to call for an outside investigation.
“[The officer] indiscriminately fired into a neighborhood, and that’s our problem,” Walls said. “We’re arguing about ‘Was [De’Von] an upstanding citizen’ instead of ‘Why did the police shoot him while he was running away.'”
The petition has more than 2,600 signatures as of Thursday evening. Walls said because of the pushback he perceives from city leaders, the online petition may spur a legally-binding one through the city or county.
“Why not just give it to somebody to do an outside investigation?,” Walls said. “It’s going to be hard for them to answer that, and that’s what they need to think about, because at the end of the day, you can’t explain why you want to keep your stuff a secret and not let anybody know about it. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers largely rebuked the governor’s call for independent investigators.
In his statement, Suthers said Polis “cites no legal or ethical basis” for Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office to recuse itself.
“There is absolutely a moral and ethical basis to have a fair and independent investigation, and I’m certain this community would agree with me,” Newman said. “Likewise, the law allows for independence in the investigation. That is why when people have the reality of not being independent or the appearance of not being independent, they should recuse themselves.”
De’Von’s mother was not present Thursday. People close to her said she is out of the state, spending time with family.
For his father’s part, Greg Bailey spoke briefly at Thursday’s demonstration, but said it’s bigger than just his son.
“We just want to make sure we see justice, not just for De’Von, but for everybody that things like this happen to,” Bailey said.