CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — The Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners released a statement Tuesday regarding the killing of Christian Glass.
Clear Creek County is one of four Colorado governments that will pay a total of $19 million to the family of Glass, who was gunned down in Silver Plume last summer. It’s the largest police misconduct payout in Colorado history.
Clear Creek County has the largest payout, $10 million. Former Clear Creek County Deputy Andrew Buen was the one who shot and killed Glass in June.
“The Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners completely supports the Glass Family’s efforts to ensure that events such as the killing of Christian will never be repeated,” the Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners said in a statement Tuesday.
“The Board does not believe that the Sheriff has adequately accepted responsibility for his central role in this tragedy or the need to swiftly correct all of the gaps in training and protocols that existed at the time of Christian’s death,” the county’s statement continued. “The Board embraces its responsibility to do all it can, within its authority, to accomplish reforms that enable the Sheriff to better focus on his core mission of public safety and justice.”
As part of the settlement that was announced May 23, the family of Glass won’t just receive money, but also promises that the state and its law enforcement offices are taking concrete steps to prevent another avoidable police shooting death like Christian’s.
“Sally and Simon Glass applaud the Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners’ commitment to ensuring that the senseless and preventable use of force that resulted in the tragic murder of their son, Christian, never happens again,” Attorney Siddhartha Rathod, of Rathod | Mohamedbhai LLC, said in a statement Tuesday.
“Sheriff Albers’ refusal to accept any personal responsibility for this unjustifiable loss of life demonstrates a lack of leadership and a disregard for the trust placed in him by the community,” the Rathod statement said. “Sally and Simon Glass join the Board in condemning Sheriff Albers’ conduct and call for his resignation.”
“By resigning, Sheriff Albers can begin to acknowledge and take responsibility for the failures that occurred under his watch. Only then can we begin to rebuild the shattered trust between law enforcement and the community they are sworn to protect,” Rathod’s statement concluded.
As part of the settlement that was announced last month, Glass’ parents will get to speak with new patrol recruits for the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office, and the county will create a crisis response team by Jan. 1, 2025.
The countywide co-responder program will pair mental health professionals and paramedics to go out on calls with law enforcement officers to prevent what happened to Glass from happening again. Clear Creek County also committed to dedicating a public park to Glass.
Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers issued a public apology as part of the settlement last month.
In an apology letter from the sheriff’s office, Albers “acknowledges that his officers failed to meet expectations in their response” to Glass’s call for help.
The letter says the sheriff has undertaken measures to “prevent a future failure,” like the creation of the Citizens Policy Advisory Board that reviews and evaluates policing policies and procedures.
“You didn’t meet expectations. Talk about understatement of the bloody century, you know, to not meet expectations. One of their officers murdered our son, second-degree murder, did not meet expectations,” Sally Glass said. “It’s underwhelming and very disappointing language.”
Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners statement:
The Clear Creek County Board of County Commissioners completely supports the Glass Family’s efforts to ensure that events such as the killing of Christian will never be repeated. The Board has always supported law enforcement and greatly appreciates the commitment of Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office deputies and staff.
The Board does not believe that the Sheriff has adequately accepted responsibility for his central role in this tragedy or the need to swiftly correct all of the gaps in training and protocols that existed at the time of Christian’s death. The Board embraces its responsibility to do all it can, within its authority, to accomplish reforms that enable the Sheriff to better focus on his core mission of public safety and justice.
The County’s Emergency Medical Services and Human Services Divisions were directed to research and implement a mental health crisis co-responder program. The pilot for this program will launch this summer with grant funds and staffing secured by the Board.
We are also pursuing a partnership with a regional communications center that already has extensive experience with co-responder programs, training, and protocols in place to effectively differentiate between mental health crises and public safety concerns.
We understand that no amount of money can bring Christian back or ease his family’s pain. Christian’s killing should never have happened, and the Board is unanimously committed to doing its part to ensure that a reprehensible act like this is prevented from ever happening again.
What happened to Christian Glass?
On June 10, 2022, Glass called 911 after his car got stuck on a road in Silver Plume. Seven officers from five agencies responded to the call.
Glass had called for a mental health check. He was shot and killed 70 minutes later.
Glass repeatedly told the responding deputies and officers that he was scared to open the door or roll down the window, but officers continued to try to get Glass out of his car. When that didn’t work, Buen broke the passenger side window, used a Taser on Glass, and shot him with non-lethal bean bags. After, officers say, Glass reached out with a small knife, Buen shot him five times, killing him.
Buen and his former supervisor Kyle Gould face charges in the death of Glass.
Buen was charged with second-degree murder and two misdemeanors: official misconduct and reckless endangerment.
Gould, who wasn’t on scene at the time of the shooting, was charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. An indictment says Gould was watching Buen’s encounter with Glass via a body camera’s livestream and alleges Gould gave officers on scene that night authorization to break into Glass’ car.
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