Thursday, August 22, 2019

Polis: Maybe the DA should hand off the Bailey shooting to another agency

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 2:44 PM

click to enlarge Suthers to Polis: Keep politics out of it. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Suthers to Polis: Keep politics out of it.
Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement on Aug. 22 that District Attorney Dan May's office should think about turning the Aug. 3 police shooting death of De'Von Bailey to another agency. That idea triggered a strong reaction from Springs Mayor John Suthers.

In the statement, Polis said the 4th Judicial District should "consider turning the investigation's findings over to another local jurisdiction for independent review, and if warranted, additional information gathering," according to

Bailey, 19, was killed after two Springs police officers approached him for questioning in an armed robbery that had happened minutes before Bailey was stopped by officers. As an officer approached him, Bailey ran, arms dropping toward his waistband, according to police body camera footage released last week. Officers fired and shot him four times, three times in the back.

"Given how the events have unfolded surrounding the death of De'Von Bailey — the public details and video that have been shared and the questions that have been raised by the general public — I hope that El Paso County takes steps above those legally required to additionally maximize the public trust in the investigation," Polis said.
click to enlarge Polis: Maybe the DA's office should think about recusal in the Bailey case. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Polis: Maybe the DA's office should think about recusal in the Bailey case.
Suthers wasted no time responding, issuing a statement at 2 p.m., about two hours after Polis' statement topped news feeds.

Said Suthers:
The Fourth Judicial District protocol for investigating an officer involved shooting is in accordance with the law passed by the legislature, and the governor cites no legal or ethical basis that should cause the fourth judicial district (which includes El Paso and Teller Counties) district attorney charged with the responsibility to make a charging decision to recuse himself. In this instance the governor appears politically motivated. Of note, he does not take the position that every district attorney in every judicial district in Colorado, including Denver, Boulder and Pueblo, should recuse themselves from making decisions in officer involved shootings in their districts.

I'm concerned that he suggests a precedence with impacts he has not yet considered and does not understand, to include undermining the will of the people, who elected the public officials charged with carrying out legal responsibilities.

Some in our community are experiencing a great deal of emotion. I recognize that and empathize with all impacted. But this is a  time for healing and allowing legal processes to run their course and not to act with political expedience.
Here's a timeline of events of the Bailey shooting and its aftermath.

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