Two Colorado Springs police officers who shot and killed a fleeing black teenager will not be charged for his death.
It follows a grand jury’s refusal to press charges against the two officers Sgt. Alan Van’t Land and officer Blake Evenson who were caught on tape shooting and killing the black teen earlier this year.
The jury decided Wednesday that the officers were justified in using deadly force, although 19-year-old De’Von Bailey was running away from them at the time he was shot reports BuzzFeed News.
The shooting which occurred on August 3 was captured on a police body camera, which also showed Sgt. Van’t Land and officer Evenson eventually retrieving a gun from Bailey’s shorts.
On Aug. 3, police were called to a Colorado Springs neighborhood after a 911 call reporting an armed robbery involving a man who said he was walking down the street when two young men approached him, demanded what was in his pockets, and hit him to the ground. According to the caller, one of the men had a handgun.
He provided descriptions of the men to Sgt. Van’t Land and officer Evenson who then responded and found the two young men on foot not far from where the caller said the robbery took place.
Sgt. Van’t Land can be heard on the body camera asking the pair their names and asking them to put their hands up.
“We’ve got a report of two people similar descriptions possibly having a gun, alright?” Van’t Land says. “So don’t reach for your waist, we’re going to just check and make sure that you don’t have a weapon, alright?”
However, Bailey rums toward a park, with the officers chasing and calling to put his hands up. When he refused both officers opened fire, striking Bailey in the back.
Officers justified in murder
Prosecutors left the decision as to whether the officers should be charged to a grand jury, and on Wednesday, it released its unanimous finding that the officers were justified in using deadly force.
District Attorney Dan May defended the grand jury’s decision, arguing the Colorado permits officers to use deadly force on fleeing felons with firearms.
“Colorado law is very carefully crafted,” May said. “If the officer has a reasonable belief that the person has used a deadly weapon in a crime and is still armed, they can use deadly force to prevent that person from being a fleeing felon with that deadly weapon.”
According to BuzzFeed News, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department investigated the Colorado Springs officers’ actions, then turned its findings over to the grand jury. “I think our system is about as fair as it can get right now, and certainly our grand jury system is as fair as it’s been certainly the last 200 years,” May said.
An attorney for Bailey’s family said the grand jury’s decision was expected as the investigation has been tainted.
“The refusal to allow an independent investigation doomed the chances of a fair outcome from the outset,” Darold Killmer said. “This is the result that the Colorado Springs DA’s Office and the police wanted, and it’s the decision they caused to happen.”
Bailey’s mother Delisha Searcy asked for prayers in a Facebook post saying: “The officer that murdered my baby will not be held responsible!!! They say it was justified ??? PLEASE pray for me!!! My heart is heavy, it’s just not right!!! I just don’t know what to do right now.?”