By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) – A Colorado city has agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of a 19-year-old Black man who was fatally shot in the back by police in 2019, both sides in the litigation said on Tuesday.
De’Von Bailey was shot four times after he bolted from two Colorado Springs policemen who were questioning him about an armed robbery in August 2019. Police said they retrieved a handgun from Bailey after he was shot.
Bailey’s parents sued the city police department in federal court, claiming that officers “racially profiled Mr. Bailey and assumed at least partly because of his race that he presented an enhanced threat to their safety,” according to the complaint.
The police department said in a written statement that the settlement was not an “admission or indication of wrongdoing” by its officers, noting that a state grand jury had declined to indict the officers, and that the FBI and other agencies also investigated the case.
“None of these agencies or bodies found any wrongdoing on the officer’s part,” the police statement said.
Bailey’s father, Greg Bailey, called his son’s death “a nightmare.”
“There is no amount of money that will bring him back,” Bailey said in a statement. “He was running away, and they shot him in the back like an animal.”
Police body-camera footage of the encounter showed two officers confronting Bailey and another man about an armed robbery.
As the officers approach the pair, Bailey turns and runs away, and one officer can be heard saying, “Hands up” three times before firing his weapon.
Bailey is seen dropping to the ground and moaning as blood oozes from his lower back. The officers then handcuff him and take a handgun from his waist band.
An autopsy revealed Bailey died from “massive blood loss” after bullets perforated his heart, left lung and other organs.
An attorney for the Bailey family, Daniel Kay, called the law enforcement and grand jury investigations “a sham” with a preordained outcome.
Mayor John Suthers, a former federal and state prosecutor, said in a statement that the officers had acted in self-defense but the city settled to avoid a possible larger payout in the event of losing at trial.
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