On Tuesday, a $19 million settlement was announced for the parents of a 22-year-old Colorado man who was slain by a sheriff’s officer while experiencing a ment@l health crisis. They also made significant reforms in law enforcement, such as requiring crisis intervention training for police who react to calls for help, which they believe will prevent future tragedies like their son’s de@th.
Christian Glass, whose SUV became stranded in the mountains outside the town of Silver Plume last year and was shot by police, garnered national attention and sparked calls for changes in how authorities deal with those who have ment@l health issues.
“If we can save one more family from ever having to go through this, if we can stop some other poor person being gunned down by police for no reason, then that will be the major achievement,” Sally Glass said in an interview along with her husband, Simon Glass.
Christian Glass was slain in Clear Creek County; as part of the agreement, the county’s sheriff’s office will provide crisis intervention training to all of its deputies and certify them accordingly.
The state of Colorado, which had three officers on the scene of Glass’s k!lling on June 11, 2022, in addition to those from local agencies, will create a virtual reality training scenario for the Colorado State Patrol based on the sh*oting to focus on de-escalation in stressful situations involving officers from different agencies.
The program’s main goal is to get police to step in when they see a colleague going too far or needing to take a break from a situation. “Speak up and say something and stop the onslaught,” said Simon Glass. “None of them did what they should have done that night, and if they had, he’d be alive.”
Body cam footage did not show any other cops intervening to prevent Christian Glass from being shot and killed. “It was like a group bullying situation,” Sally Glass said. However, Simon and Sally Glass’s primary goal was to clear their son’s reputation.
Their kid is a talented and kind artist who was born in New Zealand, Simon’s home country. The first police report describing Sally Glass as the aggressor at one of their son’s funerals in England, where Glass was born, was later found to be false. Simon Glass stated, “It was awful,” while Sally Glass followed up by saying the settlement proves “they lied.”
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The sheriff’s office issued a statement apologizing for the initial news release on the shooting, saying it “did not give an accurate description of what occurred” and pointing to the conclusion of an independent inquiry that the force used “was not consistent with that of a reasonable officer.”
There will be a park named after Christian Glass. The governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, has also promised to put the young artist’s work on public display. According to the parents’ lawyer, Siddhartha Rathod, the settlement is the largest in Colorado for a police k!lling, surpassing the $15 million settlement reached in 2021 for the de@th of Elijah McClain, and is also among the top in the United States.
The settlement was also joined by the communities of Georgetown and Idaho Springs. McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, died in 2019 when police in the Denver suburb of Aurora physically held him and a paramedic injected him with the potent anesthetic ketamine. His mother was also represented by his business, Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC.
Former Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputy Andrew Buen is being prosecuted for sh*oting and k!lling Glass, along with his former sergeant, Kyle Gould. After he dialed 911 for assistance, the situation escalated unnecessarily, according to the grand jury’s findings.
According to the court papers, Gould was not present but saw the events unfold on body camera footage and gave the order for Glass to be removed from the vehicle. The policemen’ attorneys attempted, but failed, to have the allegations against their clients dismissed.
Gould’s attorney contended that Glass could not be simply released without first being tested for substance abuse, alcoholic tendencies, or ment@l health issues, while Buen’s attorney argued that the grand jury had been misinformed. Tuesday, no one from their legal team responded to messages or phone calls seeking comment on the charges.
Police sh*otings of mentally ill people have prompted proposals for alternate policing models in which ment@l health responders, rather than police, are dispatched to certain types of emergencies. EMTs and ment@l health therapists, rather than police, can be summoned through some city systems, such as in Denver.
While that choice was available in Denver, the region where Glass was killed was nearly an hour distant from the city. The indictment alleges that Glass was paranoid, hallucinating or delusional and undergoing a mental health crisis when he called for help after his automobile got stuck on a gravel road.
Glass refused to exit his vehicle as authorities approached, and was shown on body camera footage creating a heart shape with his hands and saying, “Dear Lord, please, don’t let them break the window.”
According to the grand jury’s findings, after an hour of negotiations, police broke into the car even though they had no reason to believe Glass posed a threat or was suspected of committing a crime.
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