DENVER – Under a settlement announced Tuesday, the parents of a 22-year-old Colorado man murdered by a sheriff’s deputy while suffering from a mental health crisis would get $19 million from government, state, and municipal agencies, as well as reforms to how officers are taught.

Last year, the killing of Christian Glass after his SUV became stranded in the mountain community of Silver Plume gained national attention and sparked calls for changes in how authorities respond to people with mental health issues.

Sally and Simon Glass negotiated reforms as part of the settlement that they hope will prevent another family from suffering a loss like theirs. According to documents given by their attorneys, Clear Creek County will form a crisis response team, and the sheriff’s office will train and certify all deputies in crisis intervention.

The state of Colorado, which had three officers on the scene of Glass’ June 11, 2022 killing in addition to those from local agencies, will develop a virtual reality training scenario based on the shooting for the Colorado State Patrol that will focus on de-escalation in stressful situations involving officers from different agencies.

At the start of their active bystander training, state troopers and Division of Gaming police will also be shown a video message from Simon and Sally Glass. The program encourages police to act if they believe a fellow cop is gone too far or needs to leave an incident.

Body camera footage showed no evidence that officers from other agencies sought to stop the car breach before Christian Glass was shot.

Siddhartha H. Rathod, an attorney for the Glasses, said they hope hearing their tale will give authorities the courage to intervene if required.

“Any of the seven cops present could have prevented this simply by speaking out. “They want to give law enforcement the courage to do this,” he added of the shooting.

The settlement, which Georgetown and Idaho Springs also joined, is the highest for a police killing in Colorado, surpassing the $15 million payment reached in 2021 for the death of Elijah McClain, and it also ranks among the top in the United States, according to Rathod. Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, his law company, also represented the mother of McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died in 2019 after police in Aurora, Colorado, violently held him and a paramedic administered him with the potent tranquilizer ketamine.

Andrew Buen, a former Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputy who shot Glass, and his supervisor, former Sgt. Kyle Gould, are both being charged in Glass’ death. A grand jury determined that they needlessly exacerbated the confrontation when he dialed 911 for assistance. According to court records, Gould was not there at the scene but was watching events unfold on body camera footage and permitted officers to remove Glass from his vehicle.

Both cops’ attorneys unsuccessfully attempted to get the accusations against them dropped. While Buen’s attorney protested to how information was presented to the grand jury, Gould’s attorney contended that Glass needed to be evaluated for drugs, alcohol, and mental health issues and should not simply be let go.

In response to police shootings of persons suffering from mental illnesses, reformers have advocated for crisis intervention and de-escalation training for officers, as well as alternative policing programs in which mental health responders are dispatched to some emergency calls rather than law enforcement.

In some cities, such as Denver, EMTs and mental health specialists can be dispatched instead of police. But, at the time, the location where Glass was killed, approximately an hour’s drive from Denver, did not have that option.
Glass, whose car became stuck on a gravel road, originally informed the dispatcher that he was being followed and made other claims that the indictment claimed demonstrated he was paranoid, hallucinating, or delusional and in the midst of a mental health crisis.

Body camera footage from officers showed Glass refusing to get out of his car, making heart gestures to officers and begging, “Dear Lord, please don’t let them break the window.”

According to the grand jury, cops opted to break into the car after about an hour of negotiating, despite the fact that there was no indication that Glass constituted a threat or was suspected of a crime.

Body camera footage shows officers peppering Glass with bean bag rounds and then tasing him after the window was destroyed. According to the grand jury, Glass flashed a knife in “a state of complete panic and self-defense” before spinning in his seat and thrusting a weapon in the direction of an officer. Buen then fired five shots into Glass.

The grand jury determined that the other officer was never in “imminent danger of being stabbed by Mr. Glass.”
“But for Gould’s decision to remove Mr. Glass from the vehicle, there is no reason to b

elieve that Mr. Glass would have posed a threat to any law enforcement personnel, himself, or any member of the public,” the indictment stated.
Body camera footage did not show cops from other agencies attempting to halt the vehicle breach, including the Colorado State Patrol, gaming division, and police from the surrounding municipalities of Idaho Springs and Georgetown.

Sally Glass said Christian was “petrified” the night he was killed and the officers had little empathy for him when his parents first publicly demanded for accountability for his death last year. She begged people to pray for their kid and for fundamental changes in law enforcement.

“They should be protecting us, not attacking us,” she pointed out.




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