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Clear Creek County Commissioners: Sheriff did not accept responsibility for Christian Glass’ death

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — Both the Clear Creek County Commissioners and parents of Christian Glass released statements on Tuesday morning saying they believe the sheriff did not properly accept responsibility for the 22-year-old’s death.

Glass was shot to death by a Clear Creek County deputy a little after midnight on June 11, 2022. Glass had dialed 911 after his car got stuck on an embankment in Silver Plume and five agencies responded to the call. His parents said he was having a mental health crisis that day.

Glass stayed in his car for more than an hour as deputies tried to persuade him to exit. When Glass maintained he was afraid and wanted to stay inside, Clear Creek Deputy Andrew Buen responded that Glass would be removed with force, a call that was authorized by former deputy Kyle Gould. Moments after this, Buen is seen on body camera footage shooting Glass. Glass died at the scene. According to an indictment, he did not pose a threat and was acting in self-defense.

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Both Buen and Gould returned to work until they were indicted on criminal charges related to Glass’ death. Then, they were fired.

In May, his family settled with Clear Creek County, the State of Colorado, the Town of Georgetown, and the City of Idaho Springs for a record-breaking $19 million. It was the largest lawsuit in state history.

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The $19 million was broken down as follows: 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 settle the most amount, at $10 million.

As part of the settlement, Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers issued a statement on May 23.

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

It continues: “The events that transpired the night of June 10-11, 2022, that ended in Christian’s death, continue to be disturbing. The initial press release did not give an accurate description of what occurred. Rather, as stated in the conclusion of the investigative report subsequently issued by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office after an independent review requested by Sheriff Albers, the deputy who killed Christian Glass used lethal force that ‘was not consistent with that of a reasonable officer.'”

It also listed ways Sheriff Albers said he would move forward, including partnering with a county-wide crisis program and forming a Citizens Policy Advisory Board.

During Tuesday morning’s Clear Creek County Commissioners meeting, board chairman Randy Wheelock took a moment to read a prepared statement in which he reiterated the board’s support for the Glass family’s efforts to ensure nothing like his death ever happens again. They also stressed their support for the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office deputies and staff, but disappointment in Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers.

It reads:

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.

Shortly afterward, Sally and Simon Glass released a letter through their attorneys about the Clear Creek County Commissioners’ statement.

It reads, in full:

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.

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. 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.

Denver7 reached out to the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday to request an interview with Sheriff Albers but did not receive a response.

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