Colorado Springs agrees to pay nearly $3M settlement after fatal police shooting

“Nothing in this nightmare could ever make what happened to my son ok or justifiable. There is no amount of money that will bring him back."

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After police officers were recorded on video fatally shooting a teenager in the back, the City of Colorado Springs recently agreed to pay $2.975 million to settle the civil lawsuit filed by the teen’s family.

On August 3, 2019, Anthony Love called 911 to falsely report that De’Von Bailey, 19, and his cousin, Lawrence Stoker, 19, had assaulted and robbed Love at gunpoint. According to police body cam footage, Colorado Springs police officers confronted the cousins walking down the street a few minutes later and ordered them to put their hands in the air.

As Officer Blake Evenson approached Bailey to check if he had a firearm, Bailey suddenly began to flee on foot. In the body cam footage, Bailey lowered his hands and appeared to reach for his waistband, but it was not clear whether he was reaching for a gun or attempting to pull up his shorts as he ran away.

Officer Evenson and Sgt. Alan Van’t Land fired several bullets at the fleeing suspect and fatally shot him in the back. After the shooting, the officers found a handgun inside Bailey’s shorts.

In November 2019, a grand jury decided not to file criminal charges against the officers. Later that month, Stoker was found not guilty of two counts of third-degree assault and one count of harassment after witnesses accused Love of being intoxicated while starting a fight with Stoker and losing before calling 911 to report the false robbery claim.

In June 2020, Bailey’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the city, police department, and the officers involved in the fatal shooting. On Tuesday, the City of Colorado Springs agreed to pay $2.975 to settle the lawsuit.

In response to the settlement, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers released the following statement on Tuesday: “It is important to note that in the conduct of the civil case, neither the judge who mediated a possible settlement, nor the insurance adjusters assigned to the case suggested at any time that the officers acted unlawfully or contrary to department policy. Rather, the insurance carrier cited the ‘anti-law enforcement climate around the country,’ and much larger settlements in other cases in support of its desire to settle this case.

“As Mayor, my commitment to our police officers and to the public is that when a police officer violates the law or department policy, they will be held appropriately accountable, but that when they act in accordance with the law and department policy, as the officers did in this case, the city will stand behind them, regardless of how loud the few voices demanding otherwise. Given the position of the excess insurance carrier in this matter, standing behind our officers dictated that the City agree to the settlement.”

On Tuesday, the Colorado Springs Police Department issued the following statement: “Today, the City of Colorado Springs agreed to settle the lawsuit referencing the Officer-Involved Shooting from August 2019. Our hope is that as we explain today’s outcome from our perspective, nobody loses sight that everyone involved are real people. These are real lives that have been forever changed. Any loss of life in our community, regardless of the circumstance, is a tragic event and the officers involved never wished to be part of this incident, nor did they want an outcome resulting in the loss of life. However, under the law and based on the officers’ extensive training, they acted justifiably to protect both themselves and the community. We strongly stand behind our officers and their actions.”

In a recent statement, Bailey’s father, Greg Bailey, said, “Nothing in this nightmare could ever make what happened to my son ok or justifiable. There is no amount of money that will bring him back. He was running away, and they shot him in the back like an animal. I miss De’Von every day.”

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