COLORADO SPRINGS — The city's landmark on southbound I-25 to celebrate Colorado Springs as 'Olympic City USA' was vandalized sometime before dawn Tuesday with a message related to the fatal shooting of De'Von Bailey earlier this year by Colorado Springs Police.
Red paint appears to have been thrown onto the white sign along with the painted message "De'Von Bailey will not RIP."
Colorado Springs Police responded to the site of the vandalism. According to Kim Melchor with the City of Colorado Springs, police are investigating the incident and will charge any suspect accrodingly. The estimated cost to clean up the sign is $800.
Just this weekend, protesters disrupted the city's Christmas parade by joining the procession with signs and blocking the flow of traffic laying in the street. In the weeks since the grand jury's decision, family members have not commented publicly as they did in the aftermath of the shooting.
Bailey and his cousin were stopped by officers on August 3, 2019 as they were checking out a report of a robbery with a weapon. A grand jury report released in November found Sergeant Alan Van't Land and Officer Blake Evenson were legally justified in shooting Bailey as he ran away. As officers were administering first aid to Bailey they found he had a pistol in his shorts.
Family and community members raised concerns about the shooting in the days and weeks afterwards about officers shooting Bailey in the back multiple times. Attorneys for the family demanded an independent investigation into the shooting, rather than following the normal protocol of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office gathering the evidence and the 4th Judicial District making a determination on whether to file charges.
District Attorney Dan May decided to refer the case to a grand jury which determined there are two legal grounds upon which the officers were justified in the use of deadly physical force: one that is commonly referred to as the "fleeing felon" defense and the other is self defense and defense against others.
Bailey family attorney Mari Newman's had the following response the grand jury's finding, "We are not one bit surprised. This is the exact outcome you would expect when you have a tainted investigation presented by a biased prosecutor. This is the precise reason we’ve been calling for an independent prosecutor from the beginning. When the system refuses to police themselves, citizens need to stand up for their constitutional rights."
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs hosted a panel last week for an open discussion about the relationship between police and the community. This was in response to ongoing community discussions about the De'Von Bailey shooting. Members discussed working to find solutions to and gaining a deeper understanding of questions and concerns about bias in policing and differing relationships between segments of the community and police departments.