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Family of Colorado man killed by police during mental health crisis receives $19 million settlement

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DENVER (AP) – The parents of a 22-year-old Colorado man killed by a sheriff’s deputy suffering from a mental health crisis will receive $19 million from state and local agencies under a settlement announced Tuesday to help train and train officers. There will be a change in the way of ,

The shooting of Christian Glass last year after his SUV became stuck in the mountain town of Silver Plume attracted national attention and prompted calls for reform of how officers respond to people with mental health problems.

As part of the settlement, Sally and Simon Glass also negotiated changes that they hope will prevent another family from suffering a loss like theirs. According to documents released by his attorneys, Clear Creek County will establish a crisis response team and its sheriff’s office will train and certify all deputies in crisis intervention.

The state of Colorado, which had three officers at the scene of Glass’ June 11, 2022 murder, in addition to local agencies, will create a virtual reality training scenario for the Colorado State Patrol based on the shooting that will focus on D. Escalation of tense situations involving officers from various agencies.

A video message from Simon and Sally Glass will also be shown to state troopers and Division of Gaming officers at the start of their active spectator training. The program focuses on encouraging officers to intervene if they feel a fellow officer is going too far or needs to step away from an incident.

Body camera footage showed no indication that officers from other agencies attempted to stop the vehicle violation before Christian Glass was shot.

Siddharth H. Rathod, an advocate for the glasses, said he hoped that hearing their story would give authorities the strength to intervene if needed.

“Any one of the seven officers there could have stopped it by saying something. They want to empower law enforcement for this courage,” he said of the shooting.

The settlement, which also joined the communities of Georgetown and Idaho Springs, is the largest for a police killing in Colorado, tops the $15 million settlement reached in 2021 for the death of Elijah McClain, and also tops in the United States. Is. Rathore said. His law firm, Rathore Mohammadbhai LLC, also represented the mother of McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died in 2019 after police forcibly stopped him in the Denver suburb of Aurora and a paramedic fatally shot him. The sedative ketamine was injected.

Former Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Buen, who shot Glass, and his supervisor, former Sgt. Kyle Gould, both are being prosecuted in Glass’s death. A grand jury found that he unnecessarily escalated the standoff after calling 911 for help. Gould was not at the scene, but was watching the incidents from body camera footage and authorized officers to remove glass from his vehicle, according to court documents.

Lawyers for both officers tried unsuccessfully to have the charges against them dismissed. While Buene’s attorney objected to how the information was presented to the grand jury, Gold’s attorney argued that Glass needed to be evaluated for drugs, alcohol and mental health problems and should not be allowed to leave. Can go

In response to police killings of people in mental distress, reformers have pushed for crisis intervention and de-escalation training for police, and even alternative policing programs, where mental health responders are assigned something instead of law-enforcement. Sent to emergency calls.

Some cities, including Denver, have programs where EMTs and mental health practitioners can be dispatched instead of police. But in the area where Glass was killed, about an hour’s drive from Denver, that wasn’t an option at the time.

Glass, whose car was stuck on a dirt road, initially told the dispatcher that he was being followed and made other statements that the indictment says were paranoid, hallucinatory or delusional and had a mental health crisis. was experiencing

Body camera footage from the officers showed Glass refusing to get out of his car, making the officers a heart shape with his hands and praying: “Dear God, please, don’t let them break the window.”

After about an hour of negotiations, officers decided to dissolve the car, although there was no indication that Glass posed a threat or was suspected of a crime, according to the grand jury.

Once the window was broken, body camera footage shows officers peppering the glass with bean bag rounds, then fracturing it. According to the grand jury, Glass brandished a knife in “a state of complete panic and self-defense” before turning in his seat to thrust the knife at the direction of an officer. Bunin then fired his gun five times at the glass.

The grand jury found that at no point were the other officers in “imminent danger of being stabbed by Mr. Glass”.

“But there is no reason for Gould’s decision to remove Mr. Glass from the vehicle to believe that Mr. Glass would be a danger to any law enforcement personnel, to himself, or to any member of the public,” the indictment said. .

The body camera footage does not show officers from other agencies — including the Colorado State Patrol, the Gaming Division, and police from the nearby cities of Idaho Springs and Georgetown — attempting to stop the vehicle violation.

When Glass’s parents first publicly demanded accountability for their son’s death last year, Sally Glass said Christian was “scared” the night he was killed and went to the authorities. There was no sympathy for him. She asked people to pray for her son and for structural change in policing.

“They should protect us, not attack us,” she said.