The family of a Colorado man who tragically lost his life last year after calling 911 for help when his SUV got stuck in rocks announced on Tuesday that they will receive a $19 million settlement, marking the largest settlement of its kind in the state’s history.
Christian Glass, a 22-year-old from Boulder, was fatally shot by a Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputy on the early morning of June 11 in Silver Plume, as confirmed by his family’s attorneys and the sheriff’s office.
According to body camera footage and an autopsy report provided by Glass’ family’s attorney, he was shot five times after approximately 70 minutes of refusing to exit his Honda Pilot. During the incident, Glass appeared to be holding a knife.
In a news release, Glass’ parents, Sally, and Simon Glass, announced that they reached the multi-million dollar settlement with Clear Creek County, the state of Colorado, the city of Georgetown, and the town of Idaho Springs.
“The size of the settlement reflects the immense wrong and injustice committed by the officers that killed Christian, whose death has broken his family and left an immeasurable void,” stated the Denver-based Rathod/Mohamedbhai law firm, representing Glass’ family.
This settlement marks the largest ever for a police killing in Colorado, surpassing the $15 million settlement reached for the death of Elijah McClain in 2021, which occurred in the Denver suburb of Aurora, told Fox 31, a local news station.
In addition to the monetary settlement, Clear Creek County has agreed to dedicate a public park in honor of Glass and establish a crisis response team by January 1 of the following year. The state of Colorado will also implement changes in training for its law enforcement agencies, including the development of a virtual reality scenario that reflects Glass’ tragic incident with a focus on de-escalation.
The incident began with a call for a “motorist assist” made to the sheriff’s office at 11:21 p.m. on June 10, according to a statement issued by the sheriff’s office last year.
During the 911 call, Glass expressed his fear and mentioned having knives, a hammer, and a rubber mallet in his possession, which he intended to throw out of the car window upon the officers’ arrival. Glass emphasized that he posed no threat and would keep his hands visible.
The glass was an amateur geologist, and his family attorney, Siddhartha Rathod, stated that the tools he mentioned were related to his hobby. Rathod also suggested that Glass may have been experiencing a mental crisis during the 911 call.
Deputies broke the car’s windows and retrieved one of the knives, as stated by the agency. However, Glass reportedly armed himself with a rock and another knife. Deputies attempted to subdue him using less-lethal bean bags and a Taser but with no success. The situation escalated when Glass allegedly tried to stab an officer, resulting in him being shot, Colorado Public Radio reports.
Glass was pronounced dead at the scene, and the autopsy revealed gunshot wounds. It also indicated the presence of a blood alcohol level of 0.01%, THC, and amphetamine, which Rathod previously explained was likely due to a prescription for treating ADHD.
Glass’ parents, who hail from New Zealand and the United Kingdom, expressed their son’s trust in the police to assist him.
“He was stuck on a small pile of rocks on the side of the road and called 911 for help,” said Simon Glass during a news conference last year. “It was dark, and he was really worried. He trusted the police to come and help him. Instead, they attacked and killed him.”
Two Clear Creek County Sheriff’s deputies involved in the shooting, Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould, were indicted by a grand jury in November. Following the indictment, both deputies were terminated, as announced by the department.