Clear Creek Co. exploring crisis response team after Christian Glass shooting

DENVER — The Clear Creek County sheriff says he is working with county commissioners to try to put together a crisis response team after Christian Glass was killed by deputies inside his car in Silver Plume in June, an incident that has garnered national attention.

But the attorneys for Glass’s family said Wednesday in response to the statement from Sheriff Rick Albers that the move should have happened sooner because a grand jury in 2020 recommended the county establish such a team to help assist law enforcement officers with people in the midst of mental health crises.

In his first public statements about Glass’s death at the hands of a Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputy, Albers said the incident “has been a tragedy for everyone.”

He wrote in a letter released Wednesday that the sheriff’s office was informing the public “of our cooperation and collaboration with the Clear Creek County Commissioners in the research of a development of a Crisis Response Team for our county.”

Family seeking answers about why man, 22, was shot and killed by deputies in Silver Plume

Albers went on to say that he could not comment further on the Glass case while the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office continue to investigate the shooting.

Glass, 22, was shot and killed in Silver Plume a little after midnight on June 11. Dispatch had received a call about an hour earlier requesting a motorist assist. Body camera video provided by Glass’s family’s attorneys at Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC showed Glass was frightened by the police officers and sheriff’s deputies at the scene, that they broke out the windows of his vehicle, and that one deputy at the scene told dispatch there was a “possible psych issue going on.”

Police Shooting Family Scrutiny

Sally Glass/AP

This image provided by Sally Glass shows her son Christian Glass, right, sitting with his father, Simon Glass, in Colorado on March 11, 2021. Family members are asking for accountability in the death of Christian Glass, a 22-year-old Colorado man who was shot by police earlier this year after calling 911 for roadside assistance. Christian Glass’s parents believed officers escalated a situation that could have been handled differently, and hope the district attorney will bring criminal charges. (Sally Glass via AP)

About 70 minutes after the first deputies arrived, officers and deputies breached his vehicle after saying Glass had a rock knife in his hand.

The body camera video shows bean bags being fired, and a Taser being used on Glass as he screams, and a short time later, a deputy fires several shots at him through the front-passenger side of Glass’s windshield.

“He trusted the police to come help him. Instead, they attacked and killed him,” Glass’s father, Simon Glass, said the day the attorneys released the body camera video. “The killer shot Christian five times just to make sure.”

The attorneys have criticized law enforcement at the scene for calling in officers from seven agencies, but not calling in crisis response teams from nearby Jefferson or Boulder counties that could have potentially helped diffuse the situation and worked with Glass.

Community gathers to mourn Christian Glass, demand accountability from Clear Creek County law enforcement

The attorneys for Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC said in a statement Wednesday, in response to Albers’ statement, that Glass would have been alive today had Clear Creek County had its own crisis response team in place in June.

The attorneys further released a grand jury recommendation from August 2020 that said the county had insufficient mental health resources and facilities and that those should be available to help people in crisis and law enforcement who have to currently attend to them.

“Mental health resources should be made more available in the community including, funding by Clear Creek County and the municipalities within the County, to address the mental health issues with afflict community members,” the report states. “The Grand Jury encourages the municipalities and County to address these issues, enabling law enforcement officers with resources that do not currently exist, in hopes of preventing another tragedy like this from occurring,” the report goes on to say. “In the near term, the Grand Jury recommends to local governments in Clear Creek County, that they identify mental health resources, whether in or outside the county, that can immediately be made available to law enforcement to assist those individuals in mental health crisis.”

The December 2021 Clear Creek County Emergency Operations Plan shows that once the Emergency Operations Center is activated if an incident “grows in complexity,” county resources should first be ordered by dispatch, which includes activating the Jefferson/Gilpin Community Crisis Response Team before even mutual aid partners are activated.

The attorneys said the sheriff’s office ignored the grand jury’s “well-founded recommendations” to research and form its own crisis response team since 2020.

“Over the last four months since Christian’s death the Sheriff’s Office has misled the public about the facts of Christian’s murder and repeatedly condoned, justified, and exonerate their deputies’ conduct,” the attorneys — Siddhartha Rathod, Qusair Mohamedbhai, Matthew Cron, and Felipe Bohnet-Gomez —said in a statement. “None of the deputies involved in Christian’s murder have been disciplined and the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office deputy who shot and killed Christian is still on the street in uniform. The time for ‘research and development’ has passed and the nation must demand action and justice for Christian Glass.”

A spokesperson for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday the investigation into the shooting of Glass is ongoing. The board of county commissioners released a statement in September calling Glass’s death “deeply troubling.”

Clear Creek County commissioners weigh in on deputy shooting, call killing of Christian Glass ‘deeply troubling’

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