PUEBLO, Colorado — Attorneys representing the family of a Pueblo man who died in a deputy-involved shooting back in March are calling on the district attorney to release body camera video of the incident and to make a charging decision soon.
Jesse Cedillo's relatives held a small protest outside of the Pueblo County Jail on Thursday to call attention to the March 14 shooting.
"With everything happening around us today, this needs to come out," said Briseida Gaucin, a friend of the family.
Attorney Birk Baumgartner said he spoke with 10th Judicial District Attorney Jeff Chostner on Thursday. He told Baumgartner a charging decision will happen soon.
"He intimated to me that he is waiting on some evidence to be analyzed by a third-party but that his decision will be forthcoming very shortly," Baumgartner said.
The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office has previously said that deputies were responding to a reported car-jacking and began chasing a vehicle Cedillo was driving because it matched the description of the stolen car. The deputies caught up to Cedillo after he crashed in an alley. According to the Sheriff's office, Cedillo approached the deputies holding a gun. Attorney Sean Simeson denies that account of the incident.
"I want to be perfectly clear. That is absolutely untrue," Simeson said. "Jesse Cedillo did not have a gun on his person or in his hands at the time that he was shot and killed."
Simeson points to a third-party video which captured the shooting as proof that Cedillo was unarmed when deputy Jeffrey Alfonso began shooting.
"Jesse complied with Deputy Alfonso's orders and he came out with his hands up, and what happened to him was, he was immediately shot 15 times," Simeson said.
Simeson also accused the deputies on the scene that day of preventing paramedics and first aid personnel from treating Cedillo's injuries.
"He was left in this woman's front yard to die, and the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department actively prevented paramedics and first aid personnel from rendering first aid to him," Simeson said.
Gaucin suspects the sheriff's office is trying to protect Alfonso.
"What troubles me is how the department is not only trying to cover for Deputy Alfonso, they are trying to do this out of loyalty, he is family to them," she said.
The third-party video is currently the only publicly available video of the shooting. The incident occurred before the new Law Enforcement Integrity Act was passed by the state lawmakers. So, the 3-week deadline to release of body camera video contained in that legislation does not apply.
The shooting was investigated by the community's Critical Incident Team which is made up of law enforcement officers and investigators from the Pueblo Police Department, Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
A spokesperson for the Pueblo Police Department said the evidence was turned over to DA Chostner's office a couple of weeks ago.
"This has gone on for quite a long time," Baumgartner said. "It is incredibly distressing to the family not to have a decision on this, and I'm sure you know, decisions, whether to charge anybody else besides a police officer, don't take this long."
A spokesperson for the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office says that Alfonso is a veteran patrol officer. He returned to duty on April 6.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misspelled the last name of Briseida Gaucin as Gautin. That error also appeared in the broadcast version of the story.