Record $19 Million Settlement Awarded to Family of Christian Glass, Colorado Man Fatally Shot by Police During Mental Health Crisis.
The family of Christian Glass, a man tragically killed by police during a mental health crisis in Colorado, will receive a historic settlement of $19 million (£15.3 million). This agreement, announced on Tuesday, marks the most significant lawsuit settlement ever in Colorado. As part of the settlement, local law enforcement will establish a crisis response team and enhance training in crisis intervention.
Christian Glass, a 22-year-old, had contacted the police in June of last year when his car got stuck on an embankment in Silver Plume, a rural town. He exhibited signs of hallucination and paranoia during the call, which was later revealed to be due to a mental health crisis he was experiencing. Despite his mother’s statement that he was terrified, the situation escalated tragically when a sheriff’s deputy fatally shot him.
This incident garnered national attention and sparked calls for police reform in handling situations involving individuals with mental health issues. Body camera footage captured Mr. Glass expressing fear and reluctance to exit the vehicle, resorting to prayers and gestures of peace. Although he offered to discard two knives, the police instructed him not to do so. Eventually, after extended negotiations, officers broke a window and tasered him, and in a panic, Mr. Glass brandished a knife, resulting in his being shot five times.
While an initial police statement had portrayed Mr. Glass as the aggressor, a grand jury determined that officers unnecessarily escalated the situation and that Mr. Glass did not pose a threat. Two officers involved, sheriff’s deputy Andrew Buen and his supervisor Kyle Gould, are currently facing charges including second-degree murder and official misconduct.
According to the attorney representing Christian Glass’s parents, Sally and Simon Glass, the settlement signifies the magnitude of the officers’ wrongdoing and injustice. They hope that this resolution will prompt law enforcement to intervene effectively in similar incidents in the future. As part of the training course, a video message from the couple will be shown to officers, aiming to guide them in recognizing and preventing excessive use of force by their colleagues.