Gov. Polis calls for independent review of De’Von Bailey shooting

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Gov. Jared Polis is calling for an independent review of the shooting death of De’Von Bailey.

Bailey, 19, was shot and killed by two Colorado Springs police officers during a robbery investigation on August 3. The family’s attorneys have called for an independent special prosecutor to investigate his death.

The initial investigation was conducted by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office said last week that it has concluded its investigation and turned the findings over to the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Polis’ statement

In a written statement released Thursday afternoon, Polis called for an independent review of the shooting.

“Our nation is grappling with difficult challenges concerning race and how we treat one another,” Polis said in the statement. “It is more important now at this moment in time that our law enforcement agencies go above and beyond to maintain public trust and confidence.”

“Fairness and objectivity are key to ensuring the public trusts the integrity of any investigation,” the statement continued. “Given how the events have unfolded surrounding the death of De’Von Bailey — the public details and video that have been shared and the questions that have been raised by the general public — I hope that El Paso county takes steps above those legally required to additionally maximize the public trust in the investigation.”

“I personally believe Colorado Springs residents would be best served by an independent review of the events surrounding De’Von Bailey’s death,” the statement concluded. “An independent review would ensure the public’s confidence in the results, and maintain trust in law enforcement going forward. I encourage the El Paso County district attorney’s office to consider turning the investigation’s findings over to another local jurisdiction for independent review, and if warranted, additional information gathering.”

Suthers’ response

Colorado Springs Major John Suthers issued his own statement in response.

“The Fourth Judicial District protocol for investigating an officer involved shooting is in accordance with the law passed by the legislature, and the governor cites no legal or ethical basis that should cause the fourth judicial district (which includes El Paso and Teller Counties) district attorney charged with the responsibility to make a charging decision to recuse himself,” Suthers said in the statement. “In this instance the governor appears politically motivated. Of note, he does not take the position that every district attorney in every judicial district in Colorado, including Denver, Boulder and Pueblo, should recuse themselves from making decisions in officer involved shootings in their districts.”

“I’m concerned that he suggests a precedence with impacts he has not yet considered and does not understand, to include undermining the will of the people, who elected the public officials charged with carrying out legal responsibilities,” Suthers continued.

“Some in our community are experiencing a great deal of emotion,” the statement concluded. “I recognize that and empathize with all impacted. But this is a time for healing and allowing legal processes to run their course and not to act with political expedience.”

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