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Family of Man Shot Dead by Cops After Calling 911 Gets Record $19M Settlement

Family of Man Shot Dead by Cops After Calling 911 Gets Record $19M Settlement

Christian Glass, 22, died in the front seat of his car last year after calling cops in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The family of a man shot dead in the midst of a mental health crisis by a sheriff’s deputy will receive $19 million—the largest known law enforcement settlement in Colorado history—as part of an agreement announced Tuesday.

Christian Glass, 22, died in the front seat of his car in Silver Plume in June 2022. His death led to national calls for reform about how authorities respond to situations involving people with mental health issues, and Glass’ grieving relatives negotiated changes as part of their settlement that they hope will prevent similar tragedies being repeated.

“This settlement agreement sends a message to law enforcement across the nation that communities will no longer tolerate this type of policing,” said Siddhartha Rathod, the Glass family attorney, Colorado Public Radio reports.

The $19 million figure eclipses the previous state record $15 million settlement awarded in 2021 to the family of Elijah McClain, the Black man who died after being restrained by emergency personnel and injected with ketamine.

Three separate law enforcement agencies and the state will contribute to the Glass family settlement. Clear Creek, whose former deputy Andrew Buen fatally shot Glass, will pay $10 million. Smaller payments will also be made by Georgetown ($5 million), the state of Colorado ($3 million), and Idaho Springs ($1 million.)

Along with the money, the Glass family’s settlement terms include Clear Creek County establishing a crisis response team by 2025 and a public park dedicated to Glass’ memory. The state also agreed to create a virtual reality training scenario for Colorado State Patrol officers focusing on de-escalation.

In a statement, Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers apologized to the Glass family and conceded that an initial press release from his office about what had happened was untrue. “The Clear Creek County Sheriff extends his deepest apologies to the family of Christian Glass,” the statement read. “The sheriff acknowledges that his officers failed to meet expectations in their response to Christian Glass when he called for assistance.” It added that the events leading to the killing “continue to be disturbing.”

Former deputy Buen and his supervisor, Sgt. Kyle Gould, are being prosecuted for the killing. Gould was not at the scene but watched via body camera footage and gave permission for officers to remove Glass from his vehicle, court documents say.

A grand jury found that Buen and Gould avoidably escalated the situation on June 11, 2022, when Glass called 911 after his SUV became stuck on a dirt road. An indictment against Buen and Gould said Glass made statements to the dispatcher indicating that he was paranoid or delusional and experiencing some kind of mental health crisis.

Officers’ bodycam footage shows Glass remaining in the car and refusing to get out. At times, he made heart shapes with his hands and prayed: “Dear Lord, please, don’t let them break the window.” According to a grand jury, officers decide to breach the car after about an hour of negotiations despite the fact that Glass didn’t appear to pose a danger and was not suspected of having committed a crime.

Officers smashed the car window and Glass grabbed a knife. Police then fired several bean bag rounds and a taser at Glass as he held the blade “in a state of complete panic and self-defense,” according to the grand jury. As he moved the knife in the direction of an officer, Buen fired his gun five times, the grand jury said, adding that at no stage was the other officer in “imminent danger of being stabbed” by Glass.

“But for the decision by Gould to remove Mr. Glass from the vehicle there is no reason to believe that Mr. Glass would have been a danger to any law enforcement personnel, to himself, or to any member of the public,” the indictment said.

Buen faces charges of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment. Gould also faces charges of reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide. Both were fired from Clear Creek County.

Source: Family of Man Shot Dead by Cops After Calling 911 Gets Record $19M Settlement

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