GEORGETOWN, Colo. — Attorneys for several Clear Creek County deputies and the county indicated they intend to settle with a former Clear Creek County inmate who filed an excessive force lawsuit for an incident that dates back to 2019.
The lawsuit alleges Deputy Andrew Buen took Manuel Camacho to the ground in the hallway of the jail, where another deputy, Jacob Cordova, held his head on the ground. Buen was fired by the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Department in November after a grand jury indicted him for second-degree murder in the shooting death of Christian Glass during a call this summer.
Glass, a Boulder resident, called 911 for help after getting his car stuck on a mountain road in Silver Plume. It was a call that ended his life.
After a 70-minute police encounter, where officers attempted to get a terrified Glass out of his car, they were unsuccessful. Buen broke Glass’s window, shot him with bean bags, used a Taser on him and shot him six times. Glass died in the front seat of his locked car, holding a knife that responding officers said they were afraid he would stab them with.
Buen has since been fired from Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office alongside his supervisor Kyle Gould, who was indicted for criminally negligent homicide in the same case. Seven officers from five departments, including Colorado State Patrol, were on scene at the time, but there have been no further indictments.
Peter Lichtman, the Clear Creek County attorney, told 9NEWS the county wouldn’t comment on the settlement until the court approves it and the lawsuit is dismissed. Attorneys representing the deputies had no comment on the settlement on Wednesday.
Camacho, who filed the lawsuit without representation, couldn’t be reached Wednesday as he is currently serving prison time for an unrelated case.
According to his lawsuit, Deputy Jacob Cordova handcuffed Camacho in the jail hallway while he was waiting to be transported to court for a hearing on vehicular eluding charges. When Cordova tries to apply leg restraints, Camacho tells Cordova he’ll need a bigger restraint because of some permanent swelling in his left ankle.
In an affidavit filed by Buen, he claims Camacho had an aggressive and loud tone while speaking to Cordova. He claims he asked Camacho if there was going to be a problem. Buen writes that Camacho made a further aggressive comment and turned toward him “in a manner that I perceived to be threatening,” the affidavit said.
“I was also concerned because this was happening in the presence of another inmate who could potentially join in any attempted assault against me and other deputies,” Buen wrote in the affidavit. He said he chose to take Camacho to the ground “pursuant to his training.”
“The training that I received taught me that it is easier to control an inmate on the ground as opposed to when they are upright,” Buen wrote in the affidavit.
Camacho’s lawsuit claims he filed a grievance with the sheriff’s office about the use of force and was interviewed by two detectives in the sheriff’s office. He claims he told them he didn’t want to file charges but wanted the case to be handled administratively. When he followed up months later, he was informed that the sheriff’s office doesn’t disclose the results of administrative actions, according to the lawsuit.
A records request by 9NEWS found no records of disciplinary action on Buen’s record with the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office.
Siddhartha Rathod, a civil rights attorney representing Christian Glass’ family, said he believes the excessive force case demonstrates a pattern about Buen that required action from the sheriff’s office.
“Mr. Camacho was handcuffed,” Rathod said. “He was restrained. When an individual is handcuffed, there is a duty of care by the officers around them.”
“What the video demonstrates and what the settlement demonstrates is that Clear Creek County knew that officer Buen was violent, aggressive and should not have been on the force,” he said. “And the end result of their failure to discipline him…their failure to take appropriate action against him was the murder of Christian Glass.”
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