Family and friends of De’Von Baily, the young Colorado Springs man shot to death by police, gathered Thursday night to remember the 19-year-old.
Those close to Bailey attended his wake on the same day as the release of both the body camera footage of the Aug. 3 incident and autopsy. The video shows officers shoot him multiple times as he tried to flee. According to the autopsy, Bailey was shot three times in the back and once in the back of his arm. The gunshots hit his heart and left lung resulting in massive blood loss. Eight shots were fired in total.
Pastor and family friend Terry Thomas said he saw many who approached Bailey's open casket, especially young people, who in Thomas' words looked broken.
"I can see the questions in their heart, I can see the thought bubbles a little bit, about why did this have to happen and it's, of course, the tears and the moaning and the wailing is going on as an outward expression of what they're feeling on the inside right now," Thomas said.
At the time of the incident, police said Bailey reached for a weapon, but that's not apparent from the graphic video. As the first officer approaches, Bailey is seen touching his pocket. The officer talks to the two about why they’ve been stopped.
“Put your hands up for me a sec,” said the officer in the video, identified as Sgt. Alan Van’t Land. “So, we got a report of two people of similar descriptions, possibly having a gun, all right. So don’t reach for your waist. We’re just going to make sure you don’t have a weapon, alright?”
When a second officer approaches, the video shows Bailey run from the officers, who chase after him and open fire. The El Paso County Sheriff's Department investigated the case and has turned over their report to District Attorney Dan May.
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The family’s attorney, Darold Killmer, said that’s a conflict of interest and the family wants an independent investigation.
“We believe that independence can best be achieved by turning this matter over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation... and then to the Colorado Attorney General's office to make an independent prosecutorial decision as to whether charges against the officers are warranted and what those charges would be.”
Colorado has a "fleeing felon" statute that gives officers wide discretion in the use of deadly force against a potentially dangerous suspect. Pastor Thomas worries the district attorney will use it to justify not charging the officers involved in the shooting of the young black man.
"That is my fear," Thomas said. "I'm going to do everything I can on the ground to assure that that is not the outcome because that is, sadly to say, the status quo in the United States of America."
De’Von Bailey’s funeral is scheduled for today. The family is requesting privacy from both the public and the media.
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