Governor Jared Polis is supporting calls for an independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting in Colorado Springs that resulted in the death of 19-year-old De'Von Bailey.
In a press availabilty Thursday, Polis said he thinks it's in the best interest of the residents of Colorado Springs to have an independent review, as it "would ensure the public's confidence in the results, and maintain trust in law enforcement going forward."
Polis is encouraging the district attorney's office to turn over the findings in the investigation to another local jurisdiction for review as well as any additional information gathering needed.
Bailey was shot Aug. 3, when Colorado Springs police officers responded to a robbery call.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office recently concluded its investigation into the incident and turned over its findings to the D.A.'s office. The Bailey family is calling for an independent investigation by the state attorney general, suggesting there's a conflict of interest between the police department, sheriff's office and the D.A.s office.
"Our nation is grappling with difficult challenges concerning race and how we treat one another," said Polis. "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."
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers issued a statement in response, saying the governor appears politically motivated in making the request. "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 [district attorney] to recuse himself," wrote Suthers, who is also a former state attorney general.
"I'm concerned [Polis] suggests a precedence with impacts he has not yet considered and does not understand," Suthers continued, "to include undermining the will of the people, who elected the public officials charged with carrying out legal responsibilities."
Suthers closes his statement by acknowledging the "great deal of emotion" that "some in our community are experiencing." He then calls for healing and allowing legal processes to be carried out.
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