Cops Will Pay Family $19M in Christian Glass Case

Settlement also includes crisis intervention training for police in Colorado
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2023 5:55 PM CDT
Cops Will Pay Family $19M in Christian Glass Case
This image provided by Sally Glass shows her son Christian Glass, right, sitting with his father, Simon Glass, in Colorado on March 11, 2021.   (Sally Glass via AP)

The parents of a 22-year-old Colorado man shot dead by police after he called 911 for help last year are getting a $19 million settlement—and an apology. Family members say Christian Glass was having a mental health crisis when his SUV got stuck on a road in the mountain town of Silver Plume last June 11. He refused to leave the vehicle, saying he was afraid. Police shot him 70 minutes after they arrived at the scene. The settlement from the state and three law enforcement agencies is the largest of its kind in state history, exceeding the $15 million paid to the family of Elijah McClain in 2021, the Denver Post reports.

As part of the settlement agreement, Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers apologized for the killing. "The Sheriff acknowledges that his officers failed to meet expectations in their response to Christian Glass when he called for assistance,” he said in a statement, per the Post. “The events that transpired ... that ended in Christian’s death, continue to be disturbing." He acknowledged that the "initial press release did not give an accurate description of what occurred" and "the use of lethal force was not “consistent with that of a reasonable officer," Colorado Public Radio reports.

Glass's parents say their son was killed after officers needlessly escalated the situation in a form of "group bullying." Two officers, including the one who shot Glass after smashing one of the vehicle's windows, are being prosecuted. Authorities say that after almost an hour of negotiations, police decided to break into the vehicle despite the fact that Glass, who was showing signs of paranoia, had not threatened them and was not suspected of a crime. The settlement also includes changes to policing, including crisis intervention training for people in distress, the AP reports. A park in Creek County is being dedicated to Glass and some of his artwork will be displayed on state government property.

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"If we can save one more family from ever having to go through this, if we can stop some other poor person being gunned down by police for no reason, then that will be the major achievement," mother Sally Glass says. (More Colorado stories.)

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