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Gov. Polis apologizes for death of Christian Glass

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis apologized to the parents of Christian Glass, the 22-year-old killed by a Clear Creek deputy in Silver Plume last year. He then declared May 24 Christian Glass Day and displayed Glass’ artwork that will be hung in the Capitol.

“What happened to Christian should not have happened,” Polis told Glass’ parents, Simon and Sally, in a live-steamed announcement on Facebook on May 24. “We are going to do the best we can to avoid any parents going through what you have gone through.”

The announcement came a day after the family agreed to a $19-million settlement in the death. The state,  Clear Creek County and two other agencies agreed to the settlement. Officers from multiple agencies were at the scene the night Glass was killed.

Clear Creek County is responsible for $10 million;  Georgetown $5 million; the state $3 million; and Idaho Springs $1 million. It is the largest known single payout for police violence in the state’s history.

Glass died on the night of June 10-11, 2022, after he called 911 for help because he was stranded in his car.

Officers asked Glass to leave his car, but he refused in what turned into an extended standoff and mental health crisis that ended when officers broke a car window and used a Taser on Glass. Clear Creek Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Buen shot Glass, killing him. Buen and another officer, Kyle Gould, were later fired and are facing charges, including second-degree murder.

Mom Sally Glass thanked Polis, saying the family didn’t want Christian to be forgotten.

“If he’s floating around, he would be so proud and happy to have his art displayed in the state Capitol,” she said. “His memory will live on in our hearts and minds.”

Dad Simon Glass added that what happened to Christian was a terrible crime.

“We hope it never happens again in Colorado or ideally the country,” he said.

Polis ended the short announcement by saying, “Thank you for sharing some of Christian with Colorado. This is a reminder of how we can do better, so these tragedies don’t happen again.”

More about Christian

According to a statement about Christian on the website of Rathod-Mohamedbhai, the attorneys for the Glass family, “Christian was a young man of many talents with kindness that knew no bounds. Christian was loved beyond measure by his parents, sisters, extended family, friends, and community.

“Christian was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, by his mother, Sally Glass, who is of British decent, and his father, Simon Glass, who is from New Zealand. The Glass family relocated to California when Christian was 10 and eventually moved to Boulder, Colorado.

“Christian had an array of specialties and interests. He was an avid tennis fan and player, a trained chef who loved to cook, and also a self-taught artist with an innate gift. Christian used many mediums to make his art, but the majority of his pieces involved oil painting and oil pencil.”

More about the settlement

A statement from Clear Creek Sheriff Rick Albers acknowledged “that his officers failed to meet expectations in their response to Christian Glass when he called for assistance,” calling events on the night of Glass’ death “disturbing.”

“The sheriff has undertaken measures intended to prevent a future failure,” a statement in the wake of the settlement announcement read. “He has been working with partners to establish a program of county-wide crisis response. “

Albers also acknowledged that the “initial press release” describing events surrounding Glass’ death “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,'” the statement read.

The Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office also has agreed to train and certify all its patrol officers in crisis intervention.

“These agreements recognize the critical importance that law enforcement respond to emergencies, including situations involving mental health crises, with professionalism, empathy and an emphasis on de-escalation,” a statement from the the Rathod-Mohamedbhai law firm stated.

The firm added that the Colorado State Patrol will develop a virtual reality training based on Glass’ death, with “a focus on de-escalation in a high-stress situation.”

In addition to the millions of dollars, Clear Creek County has agreed to dedicate a public park to Glass, which will be selected in consultation with his parents.

The Town of Georgetown released a statement calling Glass’ death “avoidable.”

“Georgetown will devote the resources necessary to developing new and better ways for identifying and providing assistance to those, like Christian, who need it most,” the statement read.

Georgetown added that officers have been attending courses in intensive crisis intervention responses and are participating in a “countywide co-responder program that allows for the presence of a mental health professional and paramedic tandem to assist law enforcement in future settings.”

Idaho Springs Mayor Chuck Harmon, in a statement on behalf of the city council, said: “We hope that settlement of this matter can provide closure to the many people involved. City leadership remains committed to the constant self-evaluation and betterment of the (Idaho Springs Police Department) in all ways.”

Idaho Springs, the statement added, “continues to work collaboratively with the Jefferson Center for Mental Health, which has a licensed clinician ride with an officer/deputy each week for community outreach.”

The statement also said that “ISPD also continues to develop a mental health co-responder program within Clear Creek County.”

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