COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A grand jury found that two Colorado police officers were justified in killing a black teenager who was shot multiple times in the back during a foot chase, the district attorney said Wednesday.
As a result, no criminal charges will be filed against the officers involved in the Aug. 3 death of De’Von Bailey in Colorado Springs, KRDO reported, citing El Paso County District Attorney Dan May.
Bailey, 19, was shot three times in the back and once in the arm.
In Colorado, district attorneys can decide to file charges, send a case to a grand jury or determine police were justified in a shooting.
“For De’Von’s family, the decision was like a kick in the gut, but of course we are not one bit surprised,” family attorney Mari Newman said. “This is the exact result that the system was designed to yield when a tainted investigation is presented by a biased prosecutor. This is precisely why we have been calling for an independent prosecutor and an independent investigation from the beginning.”
Police body camera footage shows officers talking to Bailey and another man in a neighborhood about an armed robbery that was reported nearby. One officer ordered the men to keep their hands up so that another officer could search them for weapons.
Bailey ran as he was about to be searched and was shot after he put his hands near his waistband. The footage shows him falling to the ground and the officers running up to cuff his hands behind his back.
Police said they found a gun hidden in Bailey’s shorts.
The shooting “is something neither police officers nor citizens ever want to experience,” Police Chief Vince Niski said in an open letter to the community Wednesday. “The loss of a son, a friend, a community member, is a devastating event that impacts all of us.”
He also said he “fully trusts and supports” the investigative process, noting that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office looked into the death before the district attorney handed the case to the grand jury.
Newman, who was joined by Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers in calling for an independent investigation, said Wednesday she would pursue additional legal action.
“The criminal justice system, as we see time and time again, is skewed in favor of police,” she said.