Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Independent report: Most people shot by officers are armed

Posted By on Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 10:21 AM

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Cries of racism in connection with the De'Von Bailey shooting by police on Aug. 3 prompted the Independent to take a deeper look at officer-involved shootings in the region, which is featured as our cover story in this week's issue.

A close look at 68 shootings that involved 70 suspects shows that officers shot at six black people, which comprised 9 percent of the total. The local black population comprises about 6.9 percent of the total, which shows a close correlation.

The Indy's review of District Attorney's Office rulings in the 4th Judicial District, coroner reports, jail booking records and media reports revealed other important findings:

• Most people killed had drugs and/or alcohol in their systems.
• Most people shot at were armed, and most of those armed chose guns.
• All but one of the shootings for which a decision has been rendered were ruled justified by the DA's Office; the other was ruled justified by a grand jury. Three are pending.
• Despite those rulings, two agencies paid settlements to families of suspects who were killed, and three shootings wound up involving people who were innocent.
  • Courtesy El Paso County Sheriff's Office
• Officers shot at more suspects and killed more people in the period from 2011 through September 2019, compared to the first decade, 2001 to 2010.

We also looked at Taser use by Colorado Springs Police Department officers, which wasn't reported in this week's story. We found that while Taser use has increased — from 118 times in 2012 to 142 times in 2018 — when figured against the number of calls for service, it's actually declined.

But assaults on police officers is on the rise, significantly. From 2011 to 2018, officers saw a 158-percent increase in assaults on officers.

Read our coverage here

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