Christian Glass: Family reaches settlements with four entities for $19 million total

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The family of Christian Glass, a 22-year-old man who was armed with a knife and fatally shot by police last year after calling 911 for roadside assistance, has reached multiple settlements totaling $19 million with Clear Creek County, the town of Georgetown, the city of Idaho Springs and the state of Colorado, family attorneys said Tuesday.

Glass’s family and attorneys have said he was having a mental health episode when he called 911 in June 2022. He was killed in Silver Plume, Colorado, by one of the two Clear Creek County Sheriff’s deputies who responded to the call and now face criminal charges. Two state agencies and other municipalities had also sent officers to assist in the incident.

“In addition to the $19 million in financial compensation, the settlements also include a number of impactful measures aimed at honoring Christian’s memory and effecting lasting change,” attorneys representing Glass’s family said a news release.

The settlements from the state and three municipalities with law enforcement officers who were involved do not admit liability.

Clear Creek County has agreed to complete the establishment of a “dedicated crisis response team” and the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to train and certify all its patrol deputies in crisis intervention and allow Glass’s parents to speak with new patrol recruits “to share Christian’s story,” according to the release.

“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,” the family’s lawyers said in the release.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers in a statement recognized the initial news release about Glass’s June 10, 2022 death “did not give an accurate description of what occurred” and an independent review determined the deputy who killed Glass used deadly force that “was not consistent with that of a reasonable officer.”

“The Clear Creek County Sheriff extends his deepest apologies to the family of Christian Glass,” the statement said. “The Sheriff acknowledges that his officers failed to meet expectations in their response to Christian Glass when he called for assistance.”

Clear Creek County will also dedicate a public park to Glass, according to the settlement.

Officials in Georgetown called the 22-year-old’s death tragic and unnecessary in a statement.

“Christian’s death was 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,” officials said.

The town’s officers now attend crisis intervention courses, according to the statement.

Idaho Springs Mayor Chuck Harmon released a comment as part of the city’s news release on behalf of the council.

“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 (police department) in all ways,” the statement said.

The statement said the city hopes to have all officers trained in crisis intervention by the end of the year.

According to the settlement with Colorado, the state has agreed to develop a “virtual reality training scenario” based on the incident, focusing on de-escalation, and the state patrol and Division of Gaming will open a statewide training with a video from Glass’ parents.

“No settlement will erase his family’s loss,” the Colorado Attorney General’s Office said in a statement. “The state’s commitment to providing law enforcement with better training for de-escalating crisis situations will honor Christian’s life and keep his memory alive as a blessing.”

In November 2022, a grand jury delivered an indictment against Clear Creek County Sheriff’s deputies Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould following investigations into the events leading to Glass’ death.

Buen is charged with second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment. Gould is charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment, according to online court records.

NEWS has reached out to attorneys for both men, who have yet to be arraigned but have motion hearings in court on June 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET, according to court records.

Both deputies have been fired, the sheriff’s office said.

Glass was shot more than an hour after police first arrived and pronounced dead on scene, according to the sheriff’s office. His autopsy report showed Glass’s injuries were fatal and included five gunshot wounds to the torso and one to his right arm.

The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office said at the time it had received a “motorist assist” call on June 10 at 11:21 p.m. for what appeared to be a vehicle accident.

The sheriff’s office said the driver, Glass, “immediately became argumentative and uncooperative with the Deputies and had armed himself with a knife.”

Glass’s family disputed this characterization, saying in September that their son didn’t carry weapons and the knives were rock tools used for carving rocks as a form of art.