Colorado law agencies inconsistent in naming officers involved in shootings

From The Gazette (Colorado Springs):  When an alleged criminal kills a citizen, the public is informed almost immediately, but when police kill an alleged criminal, Colorado agencies are inconsistent about the information they provide.

The Colorado Springs Police Department is a perfect example.

After police-involved shootings resulting in the death of two people last year, city police released the names of the officers who fired their weapons within four days.

Officers Matthew Peterson and Derek Wilson were named three days following the Nov. 10 shooting of Dana Bruce Ott, 63. Ott died from his injuries Jan. 8.

Scott Hallas, Edward Crofoot and two officers-in-training, Charles Surratt and Matthew Anderson, were named four days after the fatal shooting of Noah Harpham, ending the gunman’s bloody march on downtown Colorado Springs. The officers were cleared of criminal charges in that shooting Tuesday.

By the time CSPD named the officer who shot and killed 25-year-old Josiah Williams during a confrontation June 22, officer William Watson had exited paid administrative leave and was back to work. The announcement came eight days after the shooting.

But following the shooting, police would not answer questions about how many officers fired their weapon. They said only that Williams was shot after he approached police with an alcoholic beverage in one hand and a handgun in the other while ignoring calls to drop his weapon.

The inconsistency is not uncommon across the state, according to a Gazette study of the 18 fatal police-involved shootings this year.

In at least seven of those cases, police named the officers who fired their weapons within a week.

In eight other cases, police immediately said how many officers were involved in the shootings, but withheld their names, sometimes until the conclusion of their respective District Attorney’s investigation.

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