Autopsy: Man killed by police was shot 3 times in back
DENVER (AP) — A black man was running from Colorado police officers when they shot him three times in the back and he collapsed on a street, according to footage from cameras worn by police and an autopsy report released Thursday.
The Colorado Springs Police Department released the video nearly two weeks after the death of 19-year-old De’Von Bailey, following calls from his family for the footage to be made public.
Attorneys for Bailey’s family separately released the autopsy report by the El Paso County coroner’s office.
Bailey’s death came as law enforcement agencies across the country are under scrutiny for the killing of black men. It has prompted several protests in Colorado Springs, including one heated rally that ended when police arrested two bail bondsmen who they said arrived on motorcycles and drew guns after a scuffle with protesters.
Police previously said an officer shot Bailey on Aug. 3 after he reached for a gun.
The body camera footage shows officers talking to Bailey and another man in a neighborhood about an armed robbery that was reported nearby. One officer orders the men, who are both black, to keep their hands up so another officer can search them for weapons.
Bailey runs away as he is about to be searched and is seen with his hands near his waistband.
The officer can be heard yelling “hands up!” three times before firing multiple shots. The footage shows Bailey falling to the ground and the officers running up to cuff his hands behind his back.
An officer kneeling at Bailey’s side tugs at what appears to be a gun between his legs as he is bleeding.
“He’s got a gun in his pants,” another officer says as the kneeling officer struggles to free the object from Bailey’s shorts. One of the officers uses a blade to cut Bailey’s shorts before removing them.
The autopsy determined that Bailey was shot four times — three times in the back and once in his right elbow.
The wounds to his back “collectively perforated the heart, left lung, diaphragm, and penetrated the spleen, resulting in massive blood loss and his subsequent death,” the report said.
A spokesman for the Colorado Springs police did not immediately return messages seeking comment on the report.
Family attorney Mari Newman characterized Bailey’s shooting as an “execution” based on the video and the reports of witnesses she did not name.
Darold Killmer, another family lawyer, said he believes the officer used excessive force and that Bailey “was doing everything in his power ... to get away.”
“He did not have a weapon in his hand and had not shown any weapon when he was shot in the back and killed,” Killmer said. “The police appear to argue that they shot Mr. Bailey because they feared he was going for a gun at the time. We think the video shows otherwise.”
Several media organizations, including The Associated Press, requested the release of the video.
Bailey’s family planned a wake Thursday. A funeral and burial services were set for Friday.
The shooting was investigated by the El Paso County sheriff’s office, which turned its findings over to prosecutors. Bailey’s family has asked for an independent special prosecutor to take over the inquiry.
A written statement issued by District Attorney Dan May’s office said it takes police shootings “very seriously” and typically takes three to four months to finish its review of an investigation. The process can include follow-up interviews, additional testing and a closer examination of evidence, the statement said.
In Colorado, district attorneys can decide to file charges, send a case to a grand jury or determine police were justified in a shooting.
The Gazette has reported that officers with the Colorado Springs Police Department have shot seven people this year, and five were fatal.