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Mayor Suthers responds to Gov. Polis call for independent investigation of shooting

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Posted at 2:09 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 16:09:11-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As we await further comment from the family of De'Von Bailey in their call for an independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting that claimed the life of the 19-year-old, the Governor of Colorado and Mayor of Colorado Springs are at odds over the matter.

Just before noon, Governor Jared Polis said he "hopes El Paso County takes steps above those legally required to additionally maximize public trust in the investigation" into the fatal officer-involved shooting from Colorado Springs police officers earlier this month. Citing "difficult challenges concerning race and how we treat one another," Polis said people living in Colorado Springs deserve an independent investigation.

READ POLIS' FULL STATEMENT

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers responded with a statement of his own, saying "the governor cites no legal or ethical basis" that should lead the District Attorney to recuse himself from the case. "I'm concerned that he suggests a precedence with impacts he has not yet considered and does not understand, to include undermining the will of the people, who elected the public officials charged with carrying out legal responsibilities," the statement continues.

Colorado Springs police released the video of the shooting last Thursday. That video started by playing 911 call audio about a robbery involving a weapon. It then cuts over to body camera video from two officers as they question De'Von Bailey and his cousin. It shows Bailey and another person putting their hands up when police arrive, and when they are asked if any one of them are armed, Bailey begins to run away. The officer with the bodycam chased Bailey and pulled out his weapon, yelling, "Hands up! Hands up!"

CSPD OIS August 3 2019 from COS Police Department on Vimeo.</p>

RELATED: Family of De'Von Bailey: Police video of teen's fatal shooting was misleading

Suther's full statement

“The Fourth Judicial District protocol for investigating an officer involved shooting is in accordance with the law passed by the legislature, and the governor cites no legal or ethical basis that should cause the fourth judicial district (which includes El Paso and Teller Counties) district attorney charged with the responsibility to make a charging decision to recuse himself. In this instance the governor appears politically motivated. Of note, he does not take the position that every district attorney in every judicial district in Colorado, including Denver, Boulder and Pueblo, should recuse themselves from making decisions in officer involved shootings in their districts.

I'm concerned that he suggests a precedence with impacts he has not yet considered and does not understand, to include undermining the will of the people, who elected the public officials charged with carrying out legal responsibilities.
Some in our community are experiencing a great deal of emotion.

I recognize that and empathize with all impacted. But this is a time for healing and allowing legal processes to run their course and not to act with political expedience.”