The parents of a 22-year-old Colorado man, who tragically lost his life during a mental health crisis, have reached a groundbreaking $19 million settlement, marking the largest settlement in the state’s history.
Colorado Family Receives $19 Million Settlement
The $19 million settlement agreement, announced on Tuesday, not only provides justice for their son but also heralds significant changes in policing practices, including crisis intervention training for officers responding to individuals in distress.
The hope is that these reforms will prevent similar tragedies in the future.
The incident involving Christian Glass unfolded in the mountain town of Silver Plume last year and garnered national attention, sparking widespread calls for reform in how law enforcement agencies handle individuals with mental health issues.
Simon and Sally Glass, the parents of Christian, expressed their satisfaction with the $19 million settlement and emphasized the importance of its broader impact, AP News reported. In accordance with the $19 million settlement, Clear Creek County, where the shooting occurred, will establish a crisis response team, and its sheriff’s office will provide crisis intervention training for all deputies.
Simon Glass emphasized the significance of holding officers accountable and promoting a culture of speaking up if a fellow officer crosses the line. He stated, “None of them did what they should have done that night, and if they had, he’d be alive.”
The body camera footage revealed that officers from other agencies failed to intervene or prevent the tragedy before Christian Glass was shot. Sally Glass described the situation as resembling a “group bullying situation,” highlighting the need for systemic change.
$19 Million Settlement Provides Solace to Grieving Parents
Beyond the monetary compensation of the $19 million settlement, the Glass family’s primary objective was to restore their son’s reputation. Christian, a talented and compassionate artist, was initially portrayed as the aggressor in the police report, which attendees at one of his funerals believed.
The $19 million settlement serves as proof that the initial report was misleading, providing solace to his grieving parents.
The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office acknowledged the inaccuracies in its initial news release and expressed remorse for the incident. A dedicated park will be established in memory of Christian Glass, and Colorado Governor Jared Polis has pledged to display his artwork on state government property.
The former deputy involved in the shooting, Andrew Buen, and his supervisor, former Sgt. Kyle Gould is currently facing prosecution. A grand jury determined that their actions needlessly escalated the situation, resulting in tragedy. While the officers’ lawyers attempted to have the charges dismissed, their objections were unsuccessful.
Advocates for reform advocate for alternative policing programs that involve dispatching mental health professionals alongside or instead of law enforcement officers in certain emergency situations.
Although Christian’s death was a profound tragedy, his parents’ tireless pursuit of justice has led to significant changes in policing practices, offering hope that future lives can be spared through improved training and compassionate response to mental health crises.
This landmark $19 million settlement, supported by the communities of Georgetown and Idaho Springs, stands as the largest in Colorado for a police killing, surpassing the previous record set in the Elijah McClain case.
Siddhartha Rathod, the parents’ attorney, noted that the settlement also ranks among the highest in the United States.