COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The family of a young black man who was fatally shot by Colorado Springs police is calling for an independent special prosecutor to investigate his death.
Colorado Springs police have said an officer shot 19-year-old De’Von Bailey on Aug. 3 after he reached for a gun, but they have not elaborated, citing a pending sheriff’s office investigation.
De’Von’s parents, Greg Bailey and Delisha Searcy, spoke on the sidewalk in front of the CSPD Police Operations Center with a crowd of supporters Tuesday morning.
“I don’t want to make this about ‘black lives matter’ because all of our lives matter,” Greg Bailey said.
“I just want justice for him because this matters for anybody that has a child in their life,” Searcy said. “Never think it can never happen to you, because I thought that. So we have to fight for justice so no one has to deal with this pain of not seeing their child anymore.”
Surveillance video obtained last week showed Bailey running from two officers before falling to the ground.
Attorneys for Bailey’s family also demanded release of all body camera footage during the press conference Tuesday.
Watch the full press conference:
Currently, the investigation is being led by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. They said they expect to finish the investigation and turn it over to the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office by the end of the week.
In a statement, CSPD said the agency is committed to releasing body-worn camera video of the August 3 shooting by the end of the week as well, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the sheriff’s office investigation.
“We understand that the family is grieving and looking for answers to what occurred on August 3rd,” Lt. James Sokolik, spokesperson for CSPD, said in a statement. “We are confident that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will conduct a thorough and complete investigation to find those answers before turning their investigation over to the District Attorney’s Office to review.”
Colorado law requires any law enforcement whose personnel is involved in an officer-involved shooting to turn the investigation over to an outside agency.
During the press conference, supporters of the family raised doubt about the ability of the sheriff’s office to conduct an impartial investigation because, they say, the agencies work together too closely and too often.
“Mayor Suthers and CSPD, we do not trust you,” said Rev. Promise Lee. “We do not trust the process of the investigation in this case. It’s time for the community to police the police. The police cannot police the police.”
Lee is the pastor of Relevant Word Christian Cultural Center, and led Tuesday’s press conference.
One of the attorneys representing the family, Darold Killmer, said CSPD and EPCSO are the closest he has seen two agencies operate.
“We cannot expect to investigate our friends and have it be an impartial outcome,” Killmer said.
“The sheriff’s office will investigate this case as it has the other 23 Colorado Springs officer-involved shootings since the passing of Senate Bill 15-219, in accordance with Colorado Revised Statute 16-2.5-301,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Killmer said his law firm has conducted its own investigation and finds the witness claims that seven shots were fired at De’Von to be credible.
“De’Von Bailey was running towards a park where families were on that Saturday evening,” Killmer said.
Killmer said most of the witnesses his law firm spoke with recounted six to eight shots.
“These were very reckless [shots] because a miss ends up in a park where children are playing,” Killmer said.
Killmer said it’s possible four of those shots hit Bailey in the back, citing the portion of surveillance video released last week.
An autopsy report has yet to be completed, but the family has laid Bailey’s body to rest.