Gov. Polis Calls For Independent Investigation Into De’Von Bailey’s Death; Colorado Springs Mayor Says The Move Is ‘Politically Motivated’

August 22, 2019
Bailey Shooting MemorialBailey Shooting MemorialHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Nicole Lempereur, left, and Michele Sidie, both of Colorado Springs, rearrange flowers Thursday Aug. 15, 2019, at the memorial to De'Von Bailey where he was shot by city police officers. Bailey later died. Body camera video of the shooting was released today. Lempereur and Sidie wre friends of Bailey's who have seen the video and are angry about the way police handled the situation with Bailey.

Updated: 9:10 A.M. August 23

Gov. Jared Polis is urging the El Paso County District Attorney to let another local jurisdiction handle the investigation into a fatal shooting by Colorado Springs police.

De'Von Bailey, 19, was shot to death as he fled from officers on Aug. 3 during an investigation into an armed robbery. The police department later released body camera footage from the incident. The graphic video showed officers firing eight shots total and shooting Bailey multiple times.

“Our nation is grappling with difficult challenges concerning race and how we treat one another,” Polis said in a 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.”

Within hours, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers issued a statement rebuking the governor's memo. Suthers spared no words, saying the Fourth Judicial District was following protocol and calling Polis' suggestion "politically motivated."

"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. 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."

The Bailey family has been asking for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Attorney General to take over the case. On Thursday evening, they gathered with dozens of protesters to denounce Suthers’ response to the Governor.

A family spokesperson, Reverend Promise Lee, rhetorically asked how much it would cost the city to give the case to a new examiner. “And the real question from us is, have you considered what is the expense if you don’t push it out to an outside and independent agency for investigation?”

Late Thursday, El Paso District Attorney Dan May essentially rejected Polis's request that he step aside in the Devon Bailey case.

In a series of three Tweets, May said "the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office is committed to a thorough, fair and neutral review.

At the completion of the review, and as with all officer-involved shootings reviewed by this office, we will release a statement detailing our findings — either criminal charges are filed, the shooting is ruled justified, or the case is sent to a grand jury.

And as we've said, the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office has been in contact with De'Von Bailey's family (and their local attorney) and we will continue to keep the family apprised."