Vigil

The family and friends and their supporters of De'von Bailey gathered for a prayer and candlelight vigil on Sunday, August 4, 2019. A friend grieves over the spot where De'von was shot. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

Newly obtained surveillance video shows two white Colorado Springs police officers chase De’Von Bailey, 19, as he runs, then falls after being shot in the back. Bailey died later in a hospital, police said.

Before the African American youth was killed, the officers had been dispatched about 6:45 p.m. Saturday to a reported robbery on East Fountain Boulevard. When the officers contacted two men, police said, one man reached for a weapon, and at least one officer fired a shot.

On the video, obtained from a camera at 2141 Preuss Road near the shooting site, both officers appear to be white and Bailey does not appear to have a weapon, according to experts who viewed the video.

The video shows both officers behind Bailey, guns pointed at him, while he sits on the road. Seconds later, he rolls onto his stomach and officers handcuff him.

WARNING: The video below contains graphic content and may be upsetting to some people.

About 40 seconds after the shooting, a third officer arrives and police begin removing Bailey’s clothes. They give him chest compressions.

In a news release, police said Bailey reached for a gun, and they later recovered a firearm at the scene.

He is the seventh person shot by Colorado Springs police this year. Five were killed.

Bailey was arrested April 8 on suspicion of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. He pleaded not guilty July 29. Five days later, he was dead.

The El Paso Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting, as is standard practice. The officers were wearing body cameras, but that video has not been released.

The Sheriff's Office did not return calls from The Gazette seeking comment on the surveillance video. The source of the surveillance video said he had given sheriff's investigators a copy of the video.

Police said at least one shot was fired. Witnesses said they heard up to seven shots.

John Burton, a 40-year lawyer and former board president of the National Police Accountability Project, watched the video Tuesday evening and said it’s very difficult to carry a weapon in the waistband of gym shorts, which Bailey was wearing.

“And even if he is armed, that’s not enough to justify a shooting generally, unless the weapon is being used or threatened to be used, which I don’t see it (on the video),” Burton said. “He is definitely not reaching in his waistband and about to shoot the officers.”

Adam Bercovici, a former 30-year police officer in Los Angeles, disagreed, saying officers could be justified in shooting Bailey, even if he didn’t have a gun. If he had committed an armed crime, “an officer could be justified in using force in stopping them from escaping into the community.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tennessee v. Garner in 1985 that an officer can use deadly force to prevent a suspect from escaping only if the officer believes the suspect poses a significant threat of death or severe physical injury to the officer or others.

Former police Officer John Bruzek, who later became a lawyer, said he would want to know the distance between the officers and Bailey and whether the police had other means of force, such as a Taser.

Bailey was shot near Adams Park, which is next to Adams Elementary School.

If the officers saw children in the park, said former policeman Bercovici, it could have affected their decision to shoot.

“You have to weigh the options,” he said. “Your (area) background has to be good. It always has to be good.”

Elizabeth Powell said she saw the patrol car pass by and headed to the park to check on her children who were playing there. She said she saw the officers interrogate Bailey and then shoot him while her children were still in the park. Powell said other children were there too.

”They could have killed my kids. Instead they killed somebody else’s,” she said.

This story is developing and may be updated.

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