Who drew a gun?

Body cam video released by Colorado Springs Police Department suggests Sgt. Alan Van’t Land drew his gun before De’Von Bailey ran away from him.

In the video, Van’t Land told Bailey not to reach for his waist while officers checked for a gun. At that moment, the sergeant’s body camera generated a pulse vibration, a buzzing sound that can be heard in the audio track. In response, Bailey and his cousin reacted with facial expressions of increased anxiety.

The vibration-pulse sound is a feature of Bodyworn by Utility cameras used by CSPD. The sound can indicate the occurrence of an event that would cause an officer’s camera to start recording automatically. Such events include when the officer’s body is horizontal to the ground, when the officer is engaged in a struggle, or when the officer is running. Special holster sensors log the moment when an officer draws his or her gun.

If Sgt. Van’t Land’s holster was equipped with a sensor, the Utility metadata storage track for his body cam would include information about when he drew his gun.

Drawing a gun is considered an escalation of force. Popular narrative suggests Bailey escalated the situation by running away from police. Body cam metadata should be examined, however, to see whether the sergeant drew his gun first, thus escalating the situation and, possibly, terrifying Bailey into bolting.

After shooting Bailey to death, police found a gun concealed deep in Bailey’s basketball shorts.

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