Recently released surveillance video shows the moment a Black teenage robbery suspect was gunned down by a pair of Colorado Springs police officers last week.
De’Von Bailey, 19, was fleeing the scene of a robbery just after 6:45 p.m. Saturday when he was shot by the pursuing officers before falling to the ground and being handcuffed, according to The Gazette. Moments later, a third officer arrived and attempted CPR on the wounded teen.
Despite efforts to save his life, Bailey was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Video from the incident, taken from a surveillance cameras at a nearby apartment complex, shows the officers, both of whom are white, chasing Bailey with their weapons drawn. The teen falls to the ground then rolls onto his stomach, after which one of the officers cuffs him.
Police were dispatched to reports of a robbery on East Fountain Boulevard when they encountered Bailey and another man — one of whom reportedly reached for a weapon. That’s when at least one officer opened fire.
Witnesses reported hearing multiple shots, at least seven.
Criminal justice experts who viewed the video said Bailey didn’t appear to have a gun, and criticized officers’ decision to use deadly force against the fleeing teen.
“He appears to be shot in his back as he’s running away, and wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt,” John Burton, an attorney and former president of the National Police Accountability Project, told the newspaper. “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).”
“[Bailey] is definitely not reaching in his waistband and about to shoot the officers,” Burton added.
Authorities tell a different story, however, saying in a press release that the teen did reach for a weapon and that a gun was later found at the scene.
After the fatal shooting of South Carolina man Walter Scott sparked questions about use of deadly force police, CNN legal analyst Avery Friedman explained in 2015 that the decision to use lethal force against a fleeing suspect “is always conditional.” He noted that the suspect must pose a significant threat of death or of bodily harm to officers or others.
Gunfire is usually, or is supposed to be, the last resort.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said it’s investigating the incident, which is standard procedure in police shootings. Bailey’s cousin, Lawrence Stoker, who identified as the second suspect arrested at the time, denied that he or Bailey were involved in the robbery, according to Newsweek.
Protests sparked by the incident prompted Mayor John Suthers to call for patience Tuesday as authorities work to review the incident.
“We know that there can be frustration with the time this takes, but we cannot compromise the investigation by failing to spend the appropriate time gathering the facts; that would serve no one,” Suthers said. “A credible investigation and charging decision takes time and I ask the community to exercise patience as we allow the investigative and judicial process to work.”
Watch more in the video below.