Six more officers have been charged in connection with the death of Colorado motorist Christian Glass, who was fatally shot by a Clear Creek County deputy in June 2023 when he called 911 for help.
The charges were announced by District Attorney Heidi McCollum, of Colorado’s Fifth Judicial District, the day after former Clear Creek County Sgt Kyle Gould pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges of failing to report and intervene to stop the use of unlawful force.
Mr Glass, 22, called 911 when his car became stuck between rocks on a dark stretch of road, appearing to suffer some type of mental health crisis as officers responded. They spoke with the motorist for more than an hour before Mr Gould, supervising remotely, authorised the breach of his vehicle, ultimately leading to his fatal shooting.
Andy Buen, the former Clear Creek deputy who fired the gun, has been charged with second-degree murder and two misdemeanours. He is scheduled to again appear in court next month.
Also now charged are Georgetown Marshal Randy Williams, who faces the misdemeanors of duty to intervene and third-degree assault; and Georgetown Police Officer Timothy Collins, Idaho Springs Police Officer Brittany Morrow, Colorado State Trooper Ryan Bennie, and Division of Gaming Officers Christa Lloyd and Mary J Harris, who were charged with Class 1 misdemeanour duty to intervene.
“Law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their actions when performing their trusted public service duties,” the district attorney said Friday in a news release.
Mr Gould, who had been supervising remotely on the night of the incident and was on his way to the scene when the 22-year-old was killed, pleaded to the misdemeanours after originally being charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. The solidly built, bald and bearded 37-year-old entered his plea as Mr Glass’s bereft parents sat stoically in the courtroom, the plea conditions also requiring that he never again serve in law enforcement or security.
Judge Catherine Cheroutes called Mr Glass’s killing “incredibly tragic, but more than that – unnecessary.”
“If Mr Gould had just said, ‘Hey, wait, sit in your car ... Mr Glass isn’t going anywhere,’ we wouldn’t be here,” Judge Cheroutes told the court on Thursday. She said she hoped the maximum fine of $1,000 and two-year probationary sentence “deters and teaches law enforcement about what the consequences are of their actions.”
Sally and Simon Glass had repeatedly called for charges to be brought against other officers present at the scene when their son was killed. Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers announced his retirement over the summer, just months after the Glasses received a historic $19m settlement and negotiated for more law enforcement crisis training.
Following the district attorney’s announcement on Friday, lawyers for the Glass family called the additional charges “especially significant because they recognise that Deputy Buen and Sergeant Gould did not act alone.
“Each of the six officers charged today had ample opportunity to stop the unjustified and senseless use of force against Christian Glass,” the statement from Rathod Mohamedbhai continued. “They took part in and enabled a plan to use criminal and unlawful force against Christian.
“Had any one of these officers stepped up to do the right thing, Christian would be alive today.”
Outside of the courthouse on Thursday, after Mr Gould pleaded guilty, Simon and Sally Glass said they were determined that some change be implemented following the unnecessary murder of their son.
“It’s been, I think, 17 months now that we’ve been waiting for justice; today was the first admission of guilt by anybody,” Mr Glass said. “Even that took a long time.”
His wife said she was “working on sort of forgiveness and kindness and compassion, and there’s no point being vindictive, because you can stick Mr Gould in jail, but honestly, it’s not going to bring Christian back.”
She and her family, she said, are “doing this because it is so important that it never, ever happens again to another family.
“That’s all we can do.”