WATCH: City of Colorado Springs settles with family of De’Von Bailey

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 1:24 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2022 at 3:23 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Two and a half years after a man was killed in a controversial police shooting, the City of Colorado Springs has settled with his family.

The family of De’Von Bailey will receive nearly $3 million for the civil suit settlement following a 7-2 City Council vote.

Mayor John Suthers and the Colorado Springs Police Department both said that the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing in any way.

“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,” Suthers said in a statement, while the Colorado Springs Police Department pointed out that the shooting had been found justified by multiple agencies, including the Department of Justice and FBI.

“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,” CSPD said in part.

The official account on August 2019 shooting by CSPD was that 19-year-old Bailey was identified by a robbery victim as one of the two males involved in the crime, the other being his cousin, and that Bailey reached for a weapon in his waistband shortly after officers approached. Body camera footage showed Bailey turning and running from officers with his arms lowered and not putting his hands up when ordered. An autopsy report stated Bailey was shot in the back three times and in the right arm once. He was hit in the heart, left lung, diaphragm and spleen.

Bailey’s cousin was later acquitted in the alleged robbery.

The shooting resulted in several protests and was investigated by El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, a 4th Judicial District Grand Jury, the United States Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Every agency found the officers justified in using deadly force.

More about the case can be found here and here.

Statements from Suthers and CSPD can be read in full below:

“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 John Suthers

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.

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

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