Four agencies have reached a settlement with the family of Christian Glass, the 22-year-old who had a mental health crisis who was killed by a deputy in Silver Plume. The agencies will pay the family $19 million.
The $19 million will be paid by the agencies and the state since a large number of officers were on the scene the night Glass was killed. Clear Creek County will pay $10 million; $5 million from Georgetown; $3 million from the state of Colorado; and $1 million from Idaho Springs.
It is the largest known single payout for police violence in the state’s history.
Glass died on the night of June 10-11, 2022, after things escalated when he was stranded in his car.
He had called 911 for help, saying he was trapped and his car was stuck.
Officers asked Glass to leave his car, but he refused in what turned into a standoff that ended when officers broke the car window and used a Taser on Glass. Clear Creek Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Buen shot Glass, killing him.
Buen and another officer, Kyle Gould, were later fired and are facing charges, including second-degree murder.
A statement from Clear Creek Sheriff Rick Albers acknowledged “that his officers failed to meet expectations in their response to Christian Glass when he called for assistance,” calling events on the night of Glass' death “disturbing.”
“The sheriff has undertaken measures intended to prevent a future failure,” a statement in the wake of the settlement announcement read. “He has been working with partners to establish a program of county-wide crisis response. “
Albers also acknowledged that the “initial press release” describing events surrounding Glass’ death “did not give an accurate description of what occurred.”
“Rather, as stated in the conclusion of the investigative report subsequently issued by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office after an independent review requested by Sheriff Albers, the deputy who killed Christian Glass used lethal force that “was not consistent with that of a reasonable officer,” the statement read.
The Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office also has agreed to train and certify all its patrol officers in crisis intervention.
“These agreements recognize the critical importance that law enforcement respond to emergencies, including situations involving mental health crises, with professionalism, empathy, and an emphasis on de-escalation,” a statement from the Glass family’s attorneys at the Rathod-Mohamedbhai firm stated.
The firm added that the Colorado State Patrol will develop a virtual reality training based on Glass’ death, with “a focus on de-escalation in a high-stress situation.”
In addition to the millions of dollars, Clear Creek County has agreed to dedicate a public park to Glass, which will be selected in consultation with his parents, Simon and Sally Glass.
Gov. Jared Polis will display Glass’ artwork in state government buildings and hold a ceremony commemorating Glass on May 23.
The Town of Georgetown released a statement calling Glass' death "avoidable."
"Georgetown will devote the resources necessary to developing new and better ways for identifying and providing assistance to those, like Christian, who need it most," the statement read.
Georgetown added that officers have been attending courses in intensive crisis intervention responses and is participating in a "county-wide co-responder program that allows for the presence of a mental health professional and paramedic tandem to assist law enforcement in future settings."
Idaho Springs Mayor Chuck Harmon, in a statement on behalf of the city council, said “We hope that settlement of this matter can provide closure to the many people involved. City leadership remains committed to the constant self-evaluation and betterment of the (Idaho Springs Police Department) in all ways.”
Idaho Springs, the statement added, "continues to work collaboratively with the Jefferson Center for Mental Health, which has a licensed clinician ride with an officer/deputy each week for community outreach."
The statement also said that "ISPD also continues to develop a mental health co-responder program within Clear Creek County."
This is a developing story. Check back at www.clearcreekcourant.com for more details.