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Clear Creek County sheriff’s supervisor pleads guilty to 2 misdemeanors in shooting death of Christian Glass

GEORGETOWN — The former Clear Creek County sheriff’s supervisor who authorized the removal of Christian Glass from his vehicle that led to the man’s shooting death pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors Thursday afternoon.

Kyle Gould pleaded guilty to ignoring his duty to intervene and his duty to report use of force by peace officers. He was sentenced by Clear Creek District Judge Catherine J. Cheroutes to two years of unsupervised probation and a $1,000 fine. Gould also is barred from working in law enforcement or security. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a felony, a copy of his plea agreement shows.

Gould’s plea deal comes two weeks after former deputy Andrew Buen, who fatally shot Glass, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, official misconduct and criminally negligent homicide. Buen’s next court appearance is set for Dec. 18, where a trial date is likely to be scheduled.

At one point during the hearing, Simon Glass, Christian’s father, told the judge, with a slightly raised voice, that he hasn’t been sleeping and that he is on antidepressant medication. They were thankful Gould pleaded guilty, but remained disturbed by initial claims that their son died by “suicide by police,” Sally Glass told the media Thursday outside the courthouse.

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)

“It’s the first time that we’ve seen responsibility. We’ve said that before. It’s good in a way because it’s an acceptance that something was wrong there,” Simon Glass said during a news conference after the hearing. “And we just want it to happen with everyone else, and soon. It’s been a long time, and I think the guilty plea is good.”

“There’s no point in being vindictive,” Sally said. “You can stick Mr. Gould in jail, but honestly, it’s not going to bring Christian back.”

In June 2022, Glass was stranded in his car near Silver Plume off Interstate 70 and called 911 for roadside help. Buen arrived on the scene and found Glass in what has since been described as a mental health crisis.

Gould, a former sergeant and sheriff’s supervisor, was not at the scene, but was watching the incident unfold from home through a live feed of Buen’s body camera. At one point, Buen called Gould for direction. Buen muted his body camera during their conversation, so the conversation was not recorded, but Buen later told Georgetown Police Chief Randall Williams that the decision had been made to remove Glass from the vehicle, even though Glass posed no imminent danger.

A screenshot from a bodycam of the night Christian Glass, 22, before he was shot and killed after Clear Creek County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call. (Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC screenshot)

In November 2022, a grand jury found that the decision to remove Glass from the vehicle directly resulted in his death.

Gould’s attorneys tried to get the charges dropped in January, arguing the former sergeant gave “the best advice he could,” while monitoring the situation from home and that he gave his orders as Buen’s supervisor based on the situation Buen described over the phone.

Judge Cheroutes denied their request in April.

Glass’ parents received a $19 million settlement in their son’s death, marking the largest settlement for a police killing in Colorado, topping the $15 million settlement reached in 2021 in the death of Elijah McClain by Aurora police.

Under the settlement, Sally and Simon Glass also negotiated for changes across law enforcement agencies, which they hope will help prevent another family from suffering a loss like theirs.

“We have to pray for us in America to make this a less violent country,” Sally Glass said in a statement three months after her son’s death. “I think a lot of people now would agree that there’s a systemic problem with policing. It’s too aggressive; they escalate at every opportunity.”

Clear Creek County was required to establish a crisis response team and its sheriff’s office will train and certify all deputies in crisis intervention, according to settlement documents. The state of Colorado, which had three officers on the scene of Glass’ killing, alongside those from local agencies, will create a virtual reality training scenario for the Colorado State Patrol based on the shooting that will focus on de-escalation in stressful situations.

Body camera footage from the fatal shooting doesn’t show that any officer on the scene attempted to stop the breach of Glass’ car before the 22-year-old was shot. A video message from Simon and Sally Glass will also be shown to state troopers and Division of Gaming officers at the beginning of their active bystander training, which focuses on encouraging officers to intervene if they feel a fellow officer is going too far or needs to step away from an incident.

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