The parents of Colorado motorist Christian Glass – who was fatally shot by police after calling 911 for help – have called for the resignation of the sheriff in the same county whose commissioners on Tuesday released a statement underscoring their lack of faith in him.
The Clear Creek County Board of Commissioners “completely supports the Glass Family’s efforts to ensure that events such as the killing of Christian will never be repeated,” the board said in the statement, just days before the one-year anniversary of the young man’s death.
It continued: “The Board does not believe that the Sheriff has adequately accepted responsibility for his central role in this tragedy or the need to swiftly correct all of the gaps in training and protocols that existed at the time of Christian’s death.”
Christian was shot dead after calling 911 on 10 June 2022 after his car became stuck in a dark, rural and rocky area near Silver Plume, an old mining post. Former Clear Creek deputies Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould – who were terminated by the sheriff’s office following the shooting – have been charged in Christian’s death and are awaiting trial.
They have pleaded not guilty.
The commissioners’ statement came two weeks after the announcement that the Glass family would receive a $19m payout, the largest for police misconduct in the state of Colorado.
Christian’s parents, Sally and Simon – from the UK and New Zealand, respectively – have vocally called for more charges to be filed. Seven officers responded from five agencies and spoke with Christian for more than an hour before he was tased and fatally shot as he sat in the driver’s seat.
On Tuesday, the Glass family released a statement serving to “applaud” the board of commissioners’ “commitment to ensuring that the senseless and preventable use of force that resulted in the tragic murder of their son, Christian, never happens again.
“Sheriff Albers’ refusal to accept any personal responsibility for this unjustifiable loss of life demonstrates a lack of leadership and a disregard for the trust placed in him by the community,” the statement read. “Sally and Simon Glass join the Board in condemning Sheriff Albers’ conduct and call for his resignation.
“By resigning, Sheriff Albers can begin to acknowledge and take responsibility for the failures that occurred under his watch. Only then can we begin to rebuild the shattered trust between law enforcement and the community they are sworn to protect.”
The Independent has reached out to the sheriff’s office but did not immediately hear back on Tuesday.
Sheriff Albers released an apology to the family last month along with the announcement of the historic settlement.
“The events that transpired the night of June 10-11, 2022, that ended in Christian’s death, continue to be disturbing,” he wrote. “The initial press release did not give an accurate description of what occurred. Rather, as stated in the conclusion of the investigative report ... the deputy who killed Christian Glass used lethal force that ‘was not consistent with that of a reasonable officer.’”
Four Colorado state governments will each pay parts of the newly announced settlement with the Glass family to reach the record amount. In addition to the funds, the family will also receive assurances that the state and its police agencies are enacting measures to ensure a similar incident doesn’t occur again.
As part of its statement on Tuesday, the Clear Creek County Board of Commissioners wrote: “The County’s Emergency Medical Services and Human Services Divisions were directed to research and implement a mental health crisis co-responder program. The pilot for this program will launch this summer with grant funds and staffing secured by the Board.
“We are also pursuing a partnership with a regional communications center that already has extensive experience with co-responder programs, training, and protocols in place to effectively differentiate between mental health crises and public safety concerns.”
It concluded: “We understand that no amount of money can bring Christian back or ease his family’s pain. Christian’s killing never should have happened, and the Board is unanimously committed to doing its part to ensure that a reprehensible act like this is prevented from ever happening again.”