Colorado Cop Who Killed Unarmed De’Von Bailey Has Past of Brutality, Still Honored

This Aug. 3, 2019 photo from police body camera video from the Colorado Springs, Colo., Police Department shows De’Von Bailey, 19, falling as he is hit by gunfire. A police official said Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, that two Colorado Springs Police Department officers Sgt. Alan Van’t Land and Officer Blake Evenson who were put on leave after shooting Bailey as he ran away from them have returned to active duty.
Photo: Colorado Springs Police Department (AP)

The Colorado Springs police sergeant involved in the August killing of 19-year-old unarmed De’Von Bailey has once before gunned down a fleeing suspect and roughed up another person while enforcing a protection order, of all things.

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Alan Van’t Land is the latest personification of police persecution.

And his dubious past is coming to light after a court hearing last week, where attorneys presented evidence that draws parallels to the death of Bailey, who also was running from the officer and was not holding a weapon.

In 2012, before he became a sergeant, Van’t Land was one of two officers who shot and killed a fleeing man.

Twenty-three-year old Robert Kresky was shot 14 times in a darkened parking lot. He had no gun but according to police, the alleged crime boss threatened to shoot them after he ran away from them.

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(Who threatens to shoot someone and then runs in the opposite direction of the person they’re threatening? Where they do that at? Just wondering.)

This Aug. 3, 2019 photo from police body camera video from the Colorado Springs, Colo., Police Department shows the second in a sequence of photos of a confrontation between officers and De’Von Bailey, 19. The video shows officers initially talking to Bailey and another man about an armed robbery that was reported nearby. Bailey runs away when one officer tells the men they are about to be searched for a gun. The officer can be heard yelling “hands up!” three times before firing multiple times.
Photo: Colorado Springs Police Department via AP
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The unarmed Kresky died four days later and according to published reports, Van’t Land was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing when prosecutors ruled the shooting “reasonable, appropriate and justified.”

In 2011 the Air Force Academy graduate and former Marine had another dust-up that ended up costing the city big money.

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According to the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper, the City of Colorado Springs had to cough up $50,000 in a settlement to 51-year-old Douglas Sellier, who was accosted and tasered when officers came to his home take his grandson to the child’s father, an alleged sex offender.

In 2014, the Colorado Springs police department awarded Van’t Land his then partner, former Olympic wrestler Adam Wheeler, with two Medals of Valor, its highest honor.

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About the author

Karu F. Daniels

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!