Jurors in an El Paso County courthouse this week acquitted the 19-year-old Colorado Springs man arrested during the same police stop that ended in the shooting and death of De’Von Bailey of assault charges.
Lawrence Stoker watched officers shoot Bailey, his cousin who was also 19, when Bailey tried to run during police questioning on the Aug. 3 stop. Bailey was found to be hiding a pistol in his shorts.
However, as Stoker’s attorney argued and the jury agreed, the police stop was based on a false accusation of assault and robbery that another Colorado Springs man had called in as revenge for an altercation earlier in the day.
“It’s just an incredible, horrible chain of events that ultimately resulted in the death of De’Von Bailey,” Stoker’s attorney, Dan Kay said.
Multiple witnesses testified that the accuser, Anthony Love, drunkenly started a fight with Stoker outside a Colorado Springs apartment earlier that day and lost. Witnesses said that Love told Stoker and Bailey as he was leaving that they “were going to pay” for the fight. Love then called 911 and accused Stoker and Bailey of assault and robbery at gunpoint.
“I was walking down the street and some men just confronted me with a gun and they fought me and tried to take my belongings,” Love told authorities, according to court documents.
Police body camera footage shows an intoxicated Love making inconsistent statements about his alleged assault, changing what items he claimed Stoker and Bailey took from him multiple times. He also initially claimed not to know Stoker and Bailey, even though the three grew up in the same neighborhood and attended the same schools.
“He lied about almost every aspect of the case,” Kay said.
The prosecuting attorneys in Stoker’s case, Steve Prager and Nicole Triola, expressed appreciation for the jury’s verdict of not guilty in Stoker’s two counts of third-degree assault and one count of harassment, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
The acquittal comes barely more than a week after a grand jury cleared the two Colorado Springs police officers who shot Bailey of any wrongdoing.
This week, Gov. Jared Polis announced he does not plan to call for any further investigations into Bailey’s death.