March Planned In Colorado Springs On Anniversary Of De’Von Bailey’s Death

Monday marks the one-year anniversary of De'Von Bailey's death. Bailey was a Black Colorado Springs teenager who was shot and killed by police.

Two local organizations, Empowerment Solidarity Network and MOVE, have planned a march to remember Bailey and demand justice. 

Community action in Colorado Springs over Bailey's death has been ongoing since last year. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and ensuing global protests have brought an increased focus to the need for police oversight, especially in cases of excessive force by the Colorado Springs Police Department.

In August 2019, police officers Alan Van't Land and Blake Evenson stopped to question Bailey and his cousin, Lawrence Stoker. A 911 call claimed Bailey and Stoker had assaulted and robbed someone at gunpoint.

Body camera footage released by the police department shows Van't Land and Evenson shooting Bailey in the back as he was running away. The officers later found a gun in Bailey's shorts.

Last November, a grand jury in El Paso County found officers Van't Land and Evenson were justified in their use of force against Bailey. A jury later that month acquitted Bailey's cousin, Stoker, of any wrongdoing. The jury also said the 911 call accusing Bailey and Stoker was a lie.

Bailey's family filed a federal lawsuit in June against Van't Land, Evenson and the city of Colorado Springs, stating the excessive force used violated Bailey's constitutional rights.

Continued protests around Black community members killed by police officers, as well as Floyd and Taylor elsewhere in the country, led the Colorado Springs City Council to move forward with a police accountability commission.

Council members have sorted through over 800 applications, and recommended around 100 applicants to continue through the selection process. The commission will ultimately have 11 members, and city council plans to appoint members by the end of August or early September.

Community organizers with Empowerment Solidarity Network, the Chinook Center and others have expressed concern that the commission isn't strong enough to make lasting change. 

Editor's Note: The original piece misidentified the location of the march.