23 May 2023

Christian Glass: Family secures US$19m payout over police actions in fatal shooting, lawyers say

6:40 pm on 23 May 2023
Christian Glass who has shoulder length brown hair is wearing a blue hoodie, a cap and is looking directly at the camera and smiling.

Christian Glass Photo: Supplied / RM Lawyers

Lawyers for the family of a Christchurch-born man shot dead by US police say they have reached a US$19 million - NZ$30m - settlement in the case.

A US media outlet says it is the largest known police settlement in Colorado history.

Two police officers were facing criminal charges after Christian Glass was shot five times in his car during an apparent mental health crisis near Denver last June.

Lawyers for his parents, Simon and Sally Glass, say they have reached agreements to settle all claims relating to the death of their son with Clear Creek County, the State of Colorado, the Town of Georgetown and the City of Idaho Springs.

The lawyers say the size of the settlement reflected the immense wrong and injustice committed by the officers who killed Christian.

They said his death has broken his family and left an immeasurable void.

DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 13: Simon and Sally Glass, the parents of Christian Glass who was killed by a Clear Creek County deputy June 11, speak to the media at their attorneys office on September 13, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Simon and Sally Glass have been campaigning for months for justice for their son. Photo: Getty Images / Denver Post

Last month a judge ruled there was enough evidence to support the charges against officers Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould, who had sought to have their case dismissed.

A grand jury indicted Buen, who was facing charges of second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and official misconduct, and Gould on charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment - both men lost their jobs.

They could face trial as soon as later this year, Colorado Public radio reported

Glass was born in Christchurch but moved to the US with his parents at the age of 10.

On the night he died, the 22-year-old had called 911 for roadside assistance when his car got stuck on a small pile of rocks near Silver Plume in Clear Creek County. He was expressing paranoid, delusional and hallucinatory thoughts.

Distressing body camera footage shows a terrified Glass's final moments, including police smashing the window of the car when he did not heed their demands to get out.

Officers then fired bean bag rounds, tasered Glass and shot him dead.

Buen was the officer in charge and fired the fatal shots, while his shift supervisor Gould was monitoring the events remotely through his deputies' bodycams.

Simon Glass told RNZ last October they had no idea what was going through Christian's mind on the night of his death that had made him feel so distressed.

Christian had been talkative on the last occasion they spoke with no signs he was troubled.

"He was very much a deep thinker. We miss him so much and it's just so unfair what's happened to Christian. We're really looking for justice and accountability for what happened."

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