Courtesy 4th Judicial District
DA Dan May has referred the De'Von Bailey shooting by police to a grand jury.
For only the second time in more than 19 years, the District Attorney's Office has referred an officer-involved shooting to a grand jury.
The announcement that the case of De'Von Bailey, shot and killed on Aug. 3 by two Colorado Springs Police Department officers, has been placed in a grand jury's hands was made on social media on Oct. 4. DA Dan May's office said there would be no further comment.
Bailey was shot several times by Sgt. Alan Van't Land and Officer Blake Evenson as he fled on foot after being stopped for questioning in connection with an armed robbery. Officers found a handgun in his shorts pocket after he fell.
The only other time the DA's Office has referred an officer-involved shooting case to a grand jury, the jury returned a "no true bill" in the 2011 shooting death of James Guy, 22, who was shot in the back by Officer Nathan Jorstad. No true bill means the officer wasn't charged with a crime and, thus, the shooting was deemed justified.
Bailey, too, was shot in the back, just as 10 others have been over the years, as the Independent
reported this week in its cover story, "Line of Fire."
Attorneys for the Bailey family expressed disappointment with the decision to refer the case to a grand jury, calling the case "infected" with conflicts of interest in the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, which conducted the shooting investigation. They also expressed doubt the grand jury would be impartial.
Here's the statement in full issued by Darold Kilmer and Mari Newman, partners at Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP, which represents, along with attorney Daniel Kay, the Bailey family in the officer-involved shooting death of Bailey:
Unfortunately, the decision to have the local DA’s office present the case to the grand jury at this point is too little too late. The grand jury‘s ability to make a decision is only as good as the information provided to it. The investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department is already infected by many conflicts of interest within that office, and within DA Dan May’s office. I fully anticipate that the case presentation by a conflicted local district attorney will be biased in favor of the local police.
Our concern is that the local prosecutors are too reliant on local police to make an independent presentation to the Grand Jury. They will likely present the matter in a way to cause charges to not be filed. The Grand Jury should be led by an INDEPENDENT Prosecutor. We’ve always believed it should be presented to the Grand Jury by the Colorado Attorney General’s office or even a prosecutor from another jurisdiction that has no relation or ties to the 4th Judicial District or Colorado Springs DA Dan May, who has deep conflicts of interest in the matter. The local police are simply too close to the local prosecutors to give confidence that the presentation to the Grand Jury will be truly impartial.
City of Colorado Springs website
The Rev. Promise Lee spoke to City Council on Sept. 10, urging an independent investigation of the shooting of De'Von Bailey.
The Rev. Promise Lee, a leader in the southeast part of the city where the shooting occurred, echoed those concerns.
He said that he and Bailey's father met with Gov. Jared Polis on Oct. 3 and asked that he issue an executive order for an independent investigation.
"I think he was genuinely sympathetic," Lee said. "He said he wouldn't exercise that at this time, so I asked him if he could be more vocal and make a call to [Colorado Springs Mayor] John
Suthers and the district attorney, and he said he would. My sense is he was trying to allow this jurisdiction to do the right thing here."
Lee says the family, which has been meeting with the DA's Office twice a month since the shooting, was told on Oct. 4 about the decision to refer the case to a grand jury.
"We're just hoping the prosecuting attorney will handle this ethically and do the right thing," he said. "We don't even know when it will convene."