Monday, August 5, 2019

Group marches on Springs after police shooting

Posted By on Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 6:14 PM

click to enlarge FAITH MILLER
  • Faith Miller
Amid chants of “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter,” about 50 people of all races rallied outside Colorado Springs City Hall on Aug. 5 to protest the fatal Saturday shooting of De’Von Bailey.

The 19-year-old black Colorado Springs man was shot by a Colorado Springs Police Department officer shortly before 7 p.m. Aug. 3 on Preuss Road near Adams Park. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Bailey has been identified by the El Paso County Coroner's Office as one of two men suspected in an armed robbery around 6:45 p.m. on nearby Fountain Boulevard. When confronted by police, Bailey allegedly attempted to pull a handgun, according to a statement from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

But witness reports, as well as statements from supporters seeking justice for the young man, suggested he was shot in the back as many as seven times as he ran from police.

Colorado Springs Police representatives did not immediately return calls for comment, and no official statement has been released. The sheriff’s office has assumed control of the investigation into the shooting.

(Update Aug. 7: Sheriff's office spokesperson Natalie Sosa says the investigation is ongoing, and no additional information will be released at this time.)

A coroner’s representative confirmed on the afternoon of August 5 that an autopsy had been completed, and that the official report could take weeks to release.

Bailey’s godmother, Lakia Heslip, described him as, “a very courageous, outgoing, loving, daring young man with so many dreams.”

Bailey came from a large, faithful family, Heslip said. And although he wasn’t a perfect man — in April he was named to Crime Stoppers’ Most Wanted list for sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust — he was one who truly had a heart for others, Heslip said.

“He cared for so many people,” she continued, holding back tears. “He wanted to live life and to do things, and he had strengths.”

In an impassioned speech during the demonstration, she called for solidarity.

“All I want is peace,” Heslip said. “I want peace in this situation and every situation that goes on. If we have no unity, how can we have peace? … This situation is not going to be about anything if we don’t promote positivity. I understand that black lives matter, [but] all lives matter. Everyone’s children matter.

“We have to make change for one and for all,” she continued. “No matter what your beliefs are, we can agree to disagree but let’s also [show] respect for ourselves and for one another. No matter what you believe in, let’s have true respect in the name of Jesus.”
click to enlarge FAITH MILLER
  • Faith Miller

Applause and the
shouts of “thank you” and “amen,” rang out at the City Hall rally, but about a mile away at the Colorado Springs Police Operations Center, the atmosphere was decidedly different.

There, sobbing demonstrators rushed at and rattled the locked glass doors at the department’s front entrance. They chanted Bailey’s name, fists raised in the air, and added a refrain of “no racist police” to the previous “no justice, no peace” chorus.

Delaundre Jenkins, an acquaintance of Bailey’s, stood atop a brick and concrete island outside the operations center entrance, holding a sign that read “Police Brutality Kills Yet ANOTHER.”
He told the gathering crowd he hadn’t slept more than four hours in two days. He didn’t expect that to change.
“I’m not sleeping until they do their jobs,” he shouted. “You don’t get used to this, you don’t adapt to this.”

“Police need to understand that we’re watching them,” said community organizer and Colorado Springs resident Tyescha Clark. “Society needs to understand that it’s not OK.”
click to enlarge FAITH MILLER
  • Faith Miller

Clark, 34, is the daughter of Puerto Rican-born parents and a mother of two. Because of that, she said, she is hugely aware of both her privilege (she was born in the continental U.S. and didn’t have to migrate with her family), and the challenges she and her family face as people of color.

And she worries daily about her son’s safety.

“All the time,” she said. “De’Von [Bailey] is just one of so many. The normalcy of it is too much.”

Stephany Rose Spaulding wore oversized sunglasses and a bright red “Moms Demand Action” T-shirt. The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs chairperson of Women and Ethnic Studies and ordained minister was on hand at City Hall for the first portion of the rally. Spaulding is also a candidate for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, but she said she was at the rally to minister to Bailey’s family’s needs.
Nonetheless, she said, real immediate change — such as in how police are trained to respond in volatile situations — could help prevent future fatal shootings. She also called for increased funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate and remediate the causes of all gun violence, whether it be mass shootings, domestic violence or police-involved cases.

She reiterated the calls to reject shootings as a macabre new normal.

“Our community has a hole brought by De’Von’s great loss,” Spaulding said. “This is too familiar. People recognize his loss in their own trauma.”
click to enlarge At the August 4 memorial. - LILY REAVIS
  • Lily Reavis
  • At the August 4 memorial.
In a release, the Colorado Springs Police noted, "While protestors were demonstrating in front of the POC, two adult males, later identified as bail bondsmen, arrived on motorcycles wearing bulletproof vests, handcuffs, bail bonds badges, and handguns. When the men approached the crowd, a verbal disturbance erupted, at which time one of the men was struck by a protestor in the crowd. Both bondsmen then drew out their handguns."

Officers responded and took the two bondsmen, identified as 33-year-old Dustin W. Brooks and 33-year-old Justin J. Brooks, into custody for disorderly conduct."

CSPD also stated that CSPD Riot Control Team was activated after other disturbances and gave several orders for the protest to disband. No one was injured and the bail bondsmen were the only arrests.

Regan Foster is the founding editor of the Southeast Express.
Delaundre Jenkins at the August 4 memorial. - LILY REAVIS
  • Lily Reavis
  • Delaundre Jenkins at the August 4 memorial.

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