Colorado city settles suit in police shooting of Black man
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The city of Colorado Springs has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in a civil lawsuit brought by the family of a 19-year-old Black man who died after being shot in the back by police officers in 2019.
De’Von Bailey’s death spurred protests against the use of excessive force by police and helped lead to several police accountability laws in Colorado. The family’s federal lawsuit alleged civil rights violations, racial bias in policing and wrongful death.
The Colorado Springs City Council approved the $2.97 million settlement Tuesday, The Gazette reported. The settlement also calls for anti-bias training for the department’s police officers, the department said.
Police body camera footage showed officers talking to Bailey and another man about an armed robbery reported nearby in southeast Colorado Springs. Bailey ran as he was about to be searched. An officer could be heard yelling “Hands up!” three times before firing.
Police Sgt. Alan Van’t Land and Officer Blake Evenson said they feared Bailey may have been reaching for a gun as he ran. Body-cam footage released by investigators showed officers removing a pistol from Bailey’s pocket after he was shot and was on the ground in handcuffs.
A state grand jury, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office reviewed the August 2019 shooting but declined to file charges against the officers. Both still work for the city police department, Lt. Jim Sokolik told The Gazette.
Bailey’s mother, Delisha Searcy, said in a statement that she hoped the settlement would prevent similar deaths.
“My heart is broken at the loss of my son, but I am hopeful that the changes in the Colorado Springs Police Department will prevent another family from losing a child,” Searcy said.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said that the settlement of the lawsuit filed against the city and the officers was in taxpayers’ best interest and avoided a costly jury trial.
In another statement, the city police department said that “we want to state unequivocally that this settlement is not, in any way, an admission or indication of wrongdoing by these officers. Rather, it was a decision made to mitigate financial risk to the City and taxpayers.”
The Colorado Springs City Council approved the settlement in a 7-2 vote and Councilman Dave Donelson said before voting against it that the settlement would be “disheartening and demoralizing” for law enforcement and citizens.
Councilman Wayne Williams, among those who approved it, said the deal was made with the support of police officers.