Protestors rallied outside of the Colorado Springs police headquarters Aug. 13 to protest the police shooting of 19-year-old De’Von Bailey. His family is calling for justice through an independent investigation of the incident.
A white police officer shot the teen responding to a report of a robbery Aug. 3. Officers said Bailey and another suspect ran from them. Though the police claimed the officer shot because one of the suspects reached for a gun, a recently-released surveillance video does not seem to show Bailey reaching for a weapon.
Bailey’s cousin, 19-year-old Lawrence Stoker, said he was the other suspect. He said neither he nor his cousin had anything to do with the robbery and were walking to Stoker’s girlfriend’s house when the police approached them. He told the Colorado Springs Gazette that his cousin did have a gun on him, but had not reached for it. He said the cops did not see the weapon until after they shot him and found it in his waistband.
Both officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Led by Bailey’s family, protestors demonstrated outside of the Colorado Springs police headquarters Aug. 13, the second rally that has occurred since the incident. They demanded the police department conduct a thorough, impartial investigation. Bailey’s family members said they want to be sure none of the evidence is destroyed or tampered with, including bodycam footage. City and law enforcement officials said Aug. 9 that bodycam footage will be released by the end of the following week, but they have not released it at this time.
“The footage scheduled for release captured the moments leading up to, including and immediately following the shooting,” the police department’s statement said.
Sparking more concern and outrage is the fact that the “outside” agency investigating the shooting is the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado. Bailey’s family has argued the county police investigating the city police is not impartial or independent enough.
“History will remind us we cannot let friends investigate friends,” Jerry Thomas, pastor of Lifting Up Jesus Church in Colorado Springs said at the Aug. 13 rally.
Protester Jerima King attended the rally holing a sign that read, “Stop police brutality against black and brown people.” However, Bailey’s father, Greg Bailey said the issue was less about race to him.
“I don’t want to make this about ‘Black Lives Matter’ or anything, because all of our lives matter,” Greg Bailey said. “I know everyone says that my son was killed by a white cop, and he’s a Black man in the community. Yes, those are facts, but that’s not what this is about. This is what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. And what’s wrong is that my son was shot in the back by law enforcement.”
Even so, Black men are killed in the hands of police at more than twice the rate of white men.
A new study from Rutgers University-Newark has found that police are the sixth leading cause of death among young — especially Black — men in America.
Related Story: Police Brutality a Leading Cause of Death Among Yong Men
So far in 2019, 124 Black males have been killed by police, according to the Washington Post’s database. Two more deadly shootings of Black men have occurred since Bailey was killed Aug. 3.