Two Colorado Springs police officers who shot and killed a black teen as he was running away will not face charges in his death.
De'Von Bailey, 19, was killed on Aug. 3 after he ran away from officers investigating a reported armed robbery. The shooting was captured on body camera video, which showed the officers later recovering a gun from Bailey's body. But attorneys for Bailey's family said the video also showed that Bailey was not threatening officers; he never pointed the gun at anyone and it wasn't visible in the video until after he was shot.
Prosecutors handed off the decision as to whether the officers should be charged to a grand jury, and on Wednesday, it released its unanimous finding that the officers were justified in using deadly force.
In a Facebook post, Bailey's mother Delisha Searcy asked for prayers.
"The officer that murdered my baby will not be held responsible!!! They say it was justified 😡😡😡 PLEASE pray for me!!! My heart is heavy, it’s just not right!!! I just don’t know what to do right now.😞"
An attorney for Bailey's family said the grand jury's decision wasn't a surprise given what he described as a "tainted investigation."
"The refusal to allow an independent investigation doomed the chances of a fair outcome from the outset," Darold Killmer told BuzzFeed News. "This is the result that the Colorado Springs DA’s Office and the police wanted, and it’s the decision they caused to happen."
But District Attorney Dan May pushed back at the criticism, noting the grand jury was an independent body and had the power to ask questions, subpoena witnesses, and order technical reports as necessary.
And, he added, the officer body camera video clearly showed how the shooting happened.
"Everyone in the public can see what happened in this case," he told reporters on Wednesday.
On Aug. 3, police were called to a Colorado Springs neighborhood after a 911 call reporting an armed robbery. A man said he was walking down the street when two young men approached him, demanded what was in his pockets, and hit him to the ground. One of the men had a handgun, the caller said, and they took his wallet.
The caller said he knew the men and provided descriptions. Sgt. Alan Van't Land and officer Blake Evenson then responded, finding two young men on foot not far from where the caller said the robbery took place.
On the body camera video, Van't Land can be heard asking the pair their names and asking them to put their hands up.
"We've got a report of two people similar descriptions possibly having a gun, alright?" Van't Land says. "So don't reach for your waist, we're going to just check and make sure that you don't have a weapon, alright?"
Bailey then runs toward a park, with the officers following and calling for him to put his hands up. Both officers open fire, striking Bailey in the back. After handcuffing the wounded teen and calling for medical aid, the officers discover a gun in his shorts.
The grand jury found that the officers were justified in killing Bailey, citing the law that allows deadly force in self-defense or the defense of others, May told reporters on Wednesday. The officers were also justified under a Colorado law that allows deadly force against felons fleeing with a firearm, he said.
"Colorado law is very carefully crafted," May said. "If the officer has a reasonable belief that the person has used a deadly weapon in a crime and is still armed, they can use deadly force to prevent that person from being a fleeing felon with that deadly weapon."
The El Paso County Sheriff's Department conducted an investigation of the Colorado Springs officers' actions, then turned its findings over to the grand jury. May noted the process had been created several years ago as an attempt at reform.
"I think our system is about as fair as it can get right now, and certainly our grand jury system is as fair as it's been certainly the last 200 years," he said.