Clear Creek, CO — Last year, Christian Glass, a young man of just 22, lost his life in a cruel encounter with police, despite his innocence and despite his plea for assistance. Police responded to his 911 call, not with help, but with deadly force. The officers involved, ex-deputy Andrew Buen and Sgt. Kyle Gould, have since faced felony charges, and now, the taxpayers of Colorado are also paying for their crimes.
This week, the parents of Christian Glass, Simon and Sally Glass, will receive a staggering $19 million settlement, the largest in Colorado’s history for a police-related killing. The previous record was a $15 million settlement in 2021 for the tragic death of Elijah McClain. While this is a monumental sum, it is, as Simon Glass poignantly puts it, “blood money.”
“We have to do some good with it,” Simon told Mountain Newsroom Reporter Spencer Wilson, mentioning that a foundation could be established to prevent further tragic shootings like this one. While this settlement will not return Christian to his parents, it serves as a stark reminder of the need for radical change within the American law enforcement system.
The settlement was split between multiple agencies:
Clear Creek County: $10 million
The Colorado State Office of Risk Management (on behalf of the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Revenue): $3 million
The town of Georgetown: $5 million
The city of Idaho Springs: $1 million
However, this isn’t just about money. The Glass family, still in mourning, will see a public park dedicated to their son in Clear Creek County. It’s hoped that this park will serve as both a loving tribute to Christian and a reminder of the accountability that the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office must hold.
The county has also committed to establishing a crisis response team by 2025, aimed at defusing similar situations non-violently in the future. The Colorado State Patrol will also create a virtual reality training scenario based on Christian’s execution and use it to teach other cops not to do the same. This training, focusing on “de-escalation in a high-stress situation,” will include an introduction by Glass’s parents, emphasizing the imperative duty of an officer to intervene.
These steps aim to prevent the reoccurrence of the horror that befell Christian Glass on that dreadful night in June 2022. That night, Glass, lost and frightened, called 911 when his car broke down, only to have a cop jump on the hood of his car and execute him.
In an emotional revelation, Sally Glass acknowledged an apology issued by the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s office, stating that it was “fantastic” for them. She said, “Because, yeah, you lied, and it should have never happened, and you murdered our son.”
While the settlement marks a significant moment in the pursuit of justice for Christian Glass, the criminal proceedings against Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould continue, with the next hearing scheduled for June 21. Simon Glass summed up their relentless fight for justice, stating, “He had a really strong sense of justice, even as a little kid. He would have wanted us to try and get to this point.”
This case reinforces the urgent need for drastic change in how law enforcement officers respond to those in mental distress. Christian Glass’ tragic end reminds us that when your only tool is a hammer, everything is treated like a nail. His memory, now immortalized in a public park and law enforcement training, may guide us toward a more compassionate future.
Below is a video illustrating why this country is in dire need of someone besides trained killers to respond to folks in a mental health crisis. Had Glass been just a few miles down the road in another county, one that employs the STAR team, he would be alive today.