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The family of a black Colorado man who was fatally shot by police this month in Colorado Springs are rallying to demand an independent investigation into his death.
Surveillance video obtained last week by The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs shows 19-year-old De’Von Bailey running away from two officers before being shot in the back and falling to the ground.
Colorado Springs police said that two officers responded to a robbery report around 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 3, and that at least one officer shot one of two suspects as he allegedly reached for a firearm, The Denver Post reported.
The footage obtained by The Gazette does not appear to show Bailey holding or brandishing a gun.
“We did not come here to bow our heads and pray, especially with our backs facing the police department,” said the Rev. Promise Lee, according to The Gazette. “But we came here with a list of demands.”
Among those demands, according to a letter from the family’s attorneys to the city’s mayor, chief of police and other officials, is the request that all records pertaining to the case be preserved and not tampered with or deleted, including body camera footage and other relevant digital data.
Family and friends gathered Tuesday morning outside the Colorado Springs Police Department headquarters, where Greg Bailey, the teen’s father, spoke softly into a microphone asking for justice for his son, the Post reported.
“For anyone to pass judgment on De’Von, shame on you. God is the only one who can pass judgment. Every man is innocent until proven guilty,” Bailey said. “This is about what is right and what is wrong.”
Bailey’s mother, Delisha Searcy, expressed her grief at the loss of her son: “I just want to say that I miss him,” she said. “De’Von was such a loving person. I want justice for him because everyone deserves justice.”
Protesters waved placards and homemade signs seeking justice , the Post reported.
“Stop police brutality against black and brown people,” read a sign held by Jerima King, 61. King told the Post that Colorado Springs has followed a national trend where police shoot and kill black and brown men without due process.
“This tragedy is affecting our entire community and the entire nation is looking to see how we will handle it,” Deb Walker, executive director of Citizens Project, which advocates equality in the community, told the Post.
Without providing evidence, Walker told the crowd Bailey’s death was the latest in a string of fatal officer-involved shootings of young black men in Colorado Springs, the Post reported.
The Gazette reported last week that five of seven officer-involved shootings in Colorado Springs this year have been fatal but did not identify racial dynamics.
“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.
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“Yes, those are facts, but that’s not what this is about. This is (about) 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,” he said.
Attorneys for Bailey’s family contend an independent investigation is needed because the system has too many internal conflicts, given that the police department, sheriff’s department and district attorney work together. Instead, they said, city officials should appoint a special prosecutor to refer the case to a grand jury.
“An independent and impartial special prosecutor should be given the important responsibility of bringing charges against the officers involved in this tragedy,” attorneys Darold Killmer and Mari Newman said in a statement on Monday.
The attorneys also said Bailey’s family wants all of the footage from officers’ body cameras and patrol dash cameras to be released.
“We want to make sure that it’s all the information, not just what the police think supports their side of things,” Killmer said.
In a statement, the Colorado Springs Police Department said it would release additional footage next week after the sheriff’s office has concluded its investigation.
“The footage scheduled for release captured the moments leading up to, including and immediately following the shooting,” the statement said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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