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Colorado Springs police 'legally justified' in fatal shooting of De'Von Bailey, grand jury says

Posted at 7:41 AM, Nov 14, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A grand jury found that Colorado Springs Police (CSPD) officers were legally justified in the fatal shooting of De'Von Bailey, the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

The case was referred to the grand jury in October following weeks of calls for an independent investigation. Bailey's family and attorneys argued in favor of an independent investigation and against allowing the El Paso County Sheriff's Office to investigate the incident.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis also publicly stated his support for an independent investigation.

However, the manner in which the investigation was handled is how state law says officer-involved shootings should be handled.

"We are not one bit surprised. This is the exact outcome you would expect when you have a tainted investigation presented by a biased prosecutor," said Mari Newman, an attorney representing the Bailey family. "This is the precise reason we've been calling for an independent prosecutor from the beginning. When the system refuses to police themselves, citizens need to stand up for their constitutional rights."

CSPD Chief Vince Niski released a letter to the community following the grand jury decision. You can see that statement here.

Bailey was shot and killed by CSPD officers on Aug. 3. The incident was captured on home surveillance video and officer body cam footage.

The incident began when officers received a report of a robbery with a weapon. Officers determined that Bailey and his cousin matched the witness description of the two suspects.

Bailey and his cousin had their hands up as the officers approached. When officers asked if either were armed, Bailey ran away.

The officer with the bodycam chased Bailey, pulled out his weapon, and yelled at Bailey to put his hands up.

That's when officers at the scene, identified as Sgt. Vant Land and Officer Evenson, fired multiple shots at Bailey. It appears officers fired at least eight times when Bailey had his back turned to them.

As Bailey fell to the ground, officers again yelled at Bailey to put his hands up. Bailey lifted one hand, which then fell back to the ground.

The autopsy revealed Bailey was shot four times. Three bullets entered his torso, perforating several organs, including his heart, left lung and spleen. He died following massive blood loss.

In the body camera video, police are seen cutting away Bailey's pants, which show the outline of a gun. Investigators say a weapon was recovered from the scene and was stored in evidence.

This story was originally published by Benjamin Lloyd on KOAA in Colorado Springs.