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Colorado Springs settles lawsuit in De’Von Bailey police shooting for nearly $3 million

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The City of Colorado Springs has settled a civil lawsuit against the city and the Colorado Springs Police Department after the police shooting of De'Von Bailey in August of 2019, the city announced Tuesday.

The city agreed to settle the lawsuit Tuesday, years after Bailey was shot and killed while running from police officers. On August 3rd, 2019, two Colorado Springs police officers shot and killed 19-year-old Devon Bailey. Sgt. Alan Van't Land and Officer Blake Evenson approached Bailey and his cousin, Lawrence Stoker, after police were called to investigate a robbery that had just taken place.

Officer body-worn camera footage shows Sgt. Van't Land approaching the two men and begin to ask them questions. When Van't Land asks both men to put their hands up so they can be searched for firearms, Bailey runs away. Officers are heard yelling, "Hands up! Hands up!" They shoot several times at Bailey, ultimately hitting him seven times in the back, according to video footage later released by CSPD. Officers found a handgun in Bailey's shorts as he bled on the ground.

(RELATED: What's happened since De'Von Bailey was killed by Colorado Springs Police)

Investigations by a 4th Judicial District Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that the officers were justified in the shooting.

The shooting prompted a wave of protests across Colorado Springs that reignited in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

In June 2020, De'Von Bailey's family filed a lawsuit against the city of Colorado Springs, its police department and the officers involved in the shooting. The lawsuit filed by KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP claims Anthony Love, an acquaintance of Bailey and Stoker falsely reported a robbery, leading police to the two men. When approached, attorneys say police officers didn't give Bailey any warning they were going to shoot, and claim Bailey didn't reach for the gun while he was running away.

On Tuesday, the city of Colorado Springs announced that a settlement would pay out $2.975 million.

Mayor John Suthers released the following statement in the wake of the settlement:

“The settlement of the civil case was dictated by the desire of the city’s excess insurance carrier to resolve the matter and eliminate any risk of a jury trial in Denver. The City of Colorado Springs is self-insured up to $1M in liability for any incident. The City has excess insurance coverage for any liability in excess of $1M. The estimated cost of trying the case through appeal is $1M, so the City would be responsible for that amount whether the case was tried or settled. Pursuant to the terms of the insurance contract, the excess carrier took the position that if the City did not agree to settle the matter for $2.975M, any verdict above that amount would be the liability of the tax payers or the police officers themselves. Under these circumstances, despite the fact that the El Paso County Grand Jury, the FBI And Department of Justice, unanimously agreed that the officers acted in self-defense and wholly in conformance with the law, it was deemed prudent to allow the insurance company to dictate settlement of the case.

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.”  

Mayor Suthers spoke during a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, saying he was frustrated with the settlement.

"It send a message that you are not standing by your officers," Suthers said. "If the city doesn't settle and proceeds to trial and there is any liability over $2.975 million it's the liability of the city taxpayers and potentially of the officers."

During Tuesdays press conference, Mayor Suthers was adamant that shooters were justified in their actions. However, Darold Killmer an attorney with KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP representing the family of De'Von Bailey disagrees with the Mayor's assertion that there was no wrong doing in connection to the fatal Bailey shooting.

"Trying to tell the community that they have been exonerated of any wrong doing that their conduct had been approved. That's just not true" said Killmer. "They wouldn't have settled if they knew they had done nothing wrong."

“If they thought we had done something wrong in the act," Mayor Suther said in response. "Why would they settle this case for this when they settled the Elijah McClain case for $15 million? Is Devon Bailey’s life worth less than Elijah McClain’s life? They knew they had serious liability issues proving liability.” 

Killmer says the Bailey family remains devastated, and this agreement certainly isn'y a 'fair trade'. However, the family is happy that some measure of justice and accountability is taking place.  

The Colorado Springs Police Department also released a statement but didn't say Bailey's name in the release.

While the City of Colorado Springs has officially and financially settled this civil case, we want to state unequivocally that this settlement is not, in any way, an admission or indication of wrongdoing by these officers. Rather, it was a decision made to mitigate financial risk to the City and taxpayers. This incident has been investigated and reviewed by numerous parties to include the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, a 4th Judicial District Grand Jury comprised of community members, the United States Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. None of these agencies or bodies found any wrongdoing on the officer’s part. As part of the settlement, the CSPD has agreed to additional non-monetary components, including officer training on Senate Bill 217, providing annual anti-bias training, actively maintaining an early intervention program, retaining officers' records, and participating in a United Way Give campaign. These policy and training requirements were already in place prior to the settlement and are part of the Department’s policies and practices.

The CSPD also wants to reiterate that the Department does not take its responsibilities to our community lightly. While we know that this was a justifiable incident, it has been difficult for everyone involved and for our community. We remain committed to serving our community honorably, humbly, and professionally, as well as supporting our officers who continue to keep Colorado Springs safe.

Colorado Springs Police Department

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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Andrew McMillan


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