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The family of a Colorado man who was killed by police during a mental health crisis gets a $19 million settlement

Denver The parents of a 22-year-old Colorado man who was killed by a sheriff’s deputy while suffering from a mental health crisis have won a $19 million settlement, the largest in the state’s history, in a deal announced Tuesday. But they’ve also made major changes to policing, including crisis intervention training for officers responding to people in distress, which they hope means no one else will have to die like their son.

The shooting of Christian Glass after his car became stuck in the mountain town of Silver Bloom last year has sparked national attention and prompted calls for reform of how authorities respond to people with mental health issues.

“If we can save another family from having to go through this, if we can stop another poor person being killed by the police for no reason, that would be the major breakthrough,” Sally Glass said in an interview with Sally Glass. Her husband is Simon Glass.

Under the agreement, Clear Creek County, where Christian Glass was killed, 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 Glass Theater on June 11, 2022, kill, in addition to 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-escalating stressful situations involving officers from different agencies. The program focuses on encouraging officers to step in if they think a fellow officer is going too far or needs to get away from an accident.

“Speak up, say something, and stop attacking,” said Simon Glass. “None of them did what they should have done that night, and if they had, they would have been alive.”

There was no indication from the body camera footage that officers from other agencies had attempted to stop the vehicle penetration before Christian Glass was shot.

“It was like a situation of group bullying,” said Sally Glass.

First and foremost, Simon and Sally Glass wanted to spell out the name of their son, a creative and kind artist born in his father’s native New Zealand. At one of their son’s funerals, held in England where Sally Glass is from, those present believed that the initial police report – later admitted to be misleading – described Glass as the assailant.

“It was horrible,” said Simon Glass, before Sally Glass added that the settlements “lied.”

The sheriff’s office also apologized for its initial news release regarding the shooting, which it said “did not provide an accurate description of what happened” and cited the findings of an outside investigation that found the force was “inconsistent with a reasonable order of magnitude.” officer.”

A garden will also be dedicated to Christian Glass. Separately, Colorado is governor. Jared Polis pledged to display the young man’s artwork on state government property.

The settlement, which was also joined by the communities of Georgetown and Idaho Springs, is the largest for a police killing in Colorado, topping the $15 million settlement reached in 2021 for the death of Elijah McClain and also the largest in the United States, said Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney. parents. His law firm, Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, represented the mother of McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died in 2019 after police in suburban Aurora forcibly restrained him and a paramedic injected him with the powerful tranquilizer ketamine.

Former Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Bowen, who shot Glass, and his supervisor, former Sgt. Kyle Gold, both of whom stand trial in Glass’ death. A grand jury found that they unnecessarily escalated the confrontation after he called 911 for help. According to court documents, Gold was not at the scene, but was watching events unfold on body camera footage and authorized officers to remove the windows from his car.

Lawyers for the two officers tried unsuccessfully to have the charges against them dropped. While Bowen’s attorney objected to how the information was presented to the grand jury, Gould’s attorney argued that Glass needed an evaluation for drug, alcohol, and mental health problems and could not just be allowed to leave. Their lawyers did not immediately return calls or emails seeking comment on the allegations on Tuesday.

In response to police killings of people with mental disorders, reformers have pushed for crisis intervention, police training in de-escalation, and even alternative police programs where mental health responders are sent to some emergency calls rather than law enforcement.

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

Glass, whose car got stuck on a dirt road, initially told the dispatcher he was being followed, and made other statements the indictment said showed he was paranoid, hallucinating or delusional, and experiencing a mental health crisis.

Officers’ body cam footage showed Glass refusing to get out of his car, making heart shapes with his hands for the officers and praying: “Dear Lord, please don’t let them break the window.”

After nearly an hour of negotiation, the officers decided to break into the vehicle even though there was no indication Glass posed a danger or suspected of committing a crime, according to the grand jury.

Once the window was smashed, body camera footage showed the officers slashing glass with a beanbag wound, then caressing it. Glass brandished a knife in “complete panic and self-defense” before twisting in his seat to thrust the knife in the officer’s direction, according to the grand jury. Bowen then fired his revolver five times into the glass.

The grand jury found that at no time was the other officer “in imminent danger of being stabbed by Mr. Glass.”

But as to Gould’s decision to remove Mr. Glass’s car, there is no reason to believe that Mr. Glass’s indictment would pose a danger to any law enforcement personnel, to himself, or to any member of the public.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.



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