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Deadly Police Shooting: Family Of De'Von Bailey Sues Colorado Springs Police Department

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) -- The family of De'Von Bailey filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in Denver Thursday. Bailey died after being shot in the back by two Colorado Springs police officers on Aug. 3, 2019. The lawsuit claims the officers used excessive force and engaged in racially-biased policing when they shot Bailey as he tried to run away.

De'Von Bailey
(credit: CBS)

In November of 2019, a state grand jury found the officers were justified in shooting Bailey. The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office both reviewed the shooting and cleared the officers of any wrongdoing in March.

Police body camera footage showed officers talking to Bailey and another man about an armed robbery reported nearby. Bailey ran as he was about to be searched. An officer could be heard yelling "hands up!" three times before firing.

De'Von Bailey death
(credit: CBS)

Bailey's family claims the armed robbery never happened -- and was falsely reported by a man who had a grudge against Bailey's cousin, Lawrence Stoker.

"In fact, the caller had recently lost a physical skirmish with Stoker, prompting the caller to falsely report a crime," lawyers for the family stated. "Stoker was found not guilty of all charges in the trial regarding the alleged robbery which was the basis of the 911 call. "

Bailey's family admits he ran from police but claims the officers shot him "without warning."

"Killing Mr. Bailey was excessive force, as there was no immediate threat to the officers' safety or anyone else," lawyers for the family stated. "The officers relied on racially discriminatory assumptions and stereotypes in assuming Mr. Bailey was more dangerous than he was, and they resorted to shooting him rather than responding with less than deadly force."

The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office disagreed.

"Both offices concluded that the fatal shooting of Mr. Bailey, although undoubtedly devastating to his family, friends and community, did not result from any willful violation of Mr. Bailey's constitutional rights," the agencies stated back in March.

To file charges in police shootings, federal prosecutors must believe that officers have willfully deprived people of their constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable seizures or the use of unreasonable force.

Lawyers for the family said the shooting was "one of a long line of cases of police brutality by the Colorado Springs Police, particularly against people of color."

Bailey's mother, Delisha Searcy, issued the following statement:

"The police stole my son, killed him in broad daylight. He was only trying to run away. The police think they can get away with murder, and they have so far. Our family will fight for justice for De'Von. But I will never get my son back. The police can't be above the law."

CBS4 reached out to the Colorado Springs Police Department for a comment but officials said they cannot comment on ongoing litigation.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)  


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