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Historic $19M settlement for man officers killed during mental crisis

The shooting of Christian Glass in Colorado last year drew national attention and prompted calls to reform police handlings of mental health crises.
Christian Glass
Posted at 8:38 AM, May 23, 2023

The family of Christian Glass, the Colorado man shot to death by a deputy with the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office who responded to a call of a person in distress last June, has settled the largest lawsuit in Colorado’s history.

Clear Creek County, the State of Colorado, the Town of Georgetown, and the City of Idaho Springs have agreed to pay $19 million to Sally and Simon Glass, parents of the 22-year-old who was shot and killed by a Clear Creek County deputy last year.

On the evening of June 10, 2022, Glass dialed 911 after his car got stuck on an embankment in Silver Plume. Five agencies responded to the call. His parents said he was having a mental health crisis that day.

Glass remained in his car for more than an hour as deputies persuaded him to exit. When Glass maintained he was afraid and waited to stay inside, Deputy Andrew Buen with the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office responded that Glass would be removed with force. That call was authorized by former deputy Kyle Gould.

Moments later, Buen, as evidenced by body camera footage, can be seen shooting Glass. Glass would die from his injuries at the scene.

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Buen and Gould were both fired by the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office after the incident.

The latest civil rights case settlement goes beyond action for just Buen and Gould, calling for accountability and laying out contributions from each of the five agencies that responded to Glass' call for help.

The City of Idaho Springs will pay $1 million. As Colorado State Patrol and the Division of Gaming both responded, the State will pay a total of $3 million. The Town of Georgetown is set to pay $5 million. Clear Creek County will pay the most, at $10 million.

A Tuesday news release from attorneys representing the family reads: "Christian Glass should be alive today. This settlement sends a message that such injustice will not be tolerated, and that those responsible will be held accountable — including those officers who stood by and failed to intervene to protect Christian."

The settlement contains a number of non-monetary measures, including:

    - A public park dedicated to Glass

    - Virtual reality and training scenarios reflecting Glass’ death which will be implemented statewide

    - Educating new recruits on de-escalation

Each of these measures will be in consultation with the Glass family.

The settlement also includes apology statements from each agency. The letter from Clear Creek County corrects its previous release from the day after the incident, calling it disturbing.

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

This story was originally published by Kelly Dietz at Scripps News Denver.