Six Colorado police officers who were at the scene when motorist Christian Glass was fatally shot after calling 911 for assistance are facing charges for their failure to intervene in the incident.
Last year, 22-year-old Glass was shot five times in Georgetown after resisting orders to exit his vehicle during a prolonged standoff. The situation unfolded as Glass, experiencing intense fear and a mental breakdown, remained in his car.
Deputies Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould were previously indicted on second-degree murder charges in connection with the incident. Now, all other officers present during Glass’s killing have also been charged for their involvement.
Earlier this week, Gould admitted guilt to charges of failing to report the use of force and failing to intervene in Glass’s death, both classified as class 1 misdemeanors. He received a sentence of two years of unsupervised probation, a $1,000 fine, and is prohibited from resuming work as a police officer in Colorado.
In a recent development, Georgetown Marshal Randy Williams has also been charged with two misdemeanor counts—failure to intervene and third-degree assault.
Additionally, former deputy Timothy Collins, Division of Gaming Officers Christa Lloyd and Mary J Harris, Idaho Springs officer Brittany Morrow, and state trooper Ryan Bennie now face charges of a single count of failure to intervene in relation to the incident.
Video: Six additional officers charged in the killing of Christian Glass
Gould, although not physically present at the scene when Glass was killed, issued the directive to break the driver’s side window while observing the incident through a live-streamed bodycam. Former Clear Creek deputy Buen, who was offered a plea deal, executed the order by breaking Glass’s window, deploying bean bag rounds, tasering him, and ultimately firing five shots into his chest. Buen has entered a plea of not guilty to second-degree murder and is currently awaiting trial.
Both Gould and Buen were terminated from their positions following their indictment last year.
District Attorney Heidi McCollum emphasized the need for accountability, stating, ‘Law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their actions when performing their trusted public service duties.’ McCollum added that charges have been filed against the six other officers who were present on June 11, 2022, for failing to intervene in Buen’s actions that resulted in Christian Glass’s death.
Gould reached a plea agreement with prosecutors, admitting guilt to a reduced charge of failure to intervene, a offense established in police reform legislation amid the 2020 protests following George Floyd’s murder. This crime carries a potential jail term of up to 364 days, but the plea deal entails a sentence of probation for Gould.
Gould entered his plea and received sentencing as Christian Glass’s parents, Sally and Simon Glass, observed the court proceedings in Idaho Springs.
In a statement released by their legal representatives, the Glass family expressed support for the prosecutors and acknowledged Gould’s acceptance of responsibility for his role in their son’s death. The statement conveyed the family’s hope that the broader law enforcement community would draw lessons from this prosecution and implement policy and cultural changes to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Christian Glass, originally from New Zealand, had dialed 911 seeking roadside assistance during a mental health crisis in June 2022. Refusing to exit his car due to intense fear, he communicated distress by making heart-shaped signs with his hands and brandishing a knife at the deputies.
Despite negotiations with officers to persuade him to leave the vehicle, after approximately an hour, officers chose to breach the car, even though there was no indication that Glass posed a threat or was suspected of a crime, according to the indictment.
Former deputy pleads guilty in Christian Glass case
After the window was shattered, body camera footage reveals officers firing bean bag rounds at Glass and subsequently using a taser on him. The indictment suggests that Glass, in a state of panic and self-defense, brandished a knife before turning in his seat to thrust it in the direction of an officer. In response, Buen discharged his firearm five times, resulting in Glass’s death.
Sally Glass, Christian’s mother, shared that her son battled depression, had recently been diagnosed with ADHD, and was experiencing a mental health crisis on the night he was killed, expressing that he was “petrified.” The family also noted that Glass possessed two knives, a hammer, and a rubber mallet as he was an amateur geologist. Despite Glass informing 911 about the knives, the police disregarded his attempts to discard the weapons from his window.
During the court proceedings, Sally Glass stated, ‘Our son was a nice kid, and they killed a good kid. And I hope that Mr. Gould now, throughout his life, well, to think about being kinder, and more compassionate to people that are in trouble.’
Earlier this year, Glass’s parents secured a $19 million settlement, which included policy changes, such as crisis intervention training for officers responding to individuals in distress.