Parents of Boulder man killed by Clear Creek deputies seeking accountability

Christian Glass was shot in Silver Plume during an encounter with Clear Creek deputies in June

Olivia Jewell Love
olove@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/13/22

Parents of Christian Glass, a 22-year-old Boulder man killed by Clear Creek deputies in June 2022 are holding a press conference today to call for accountability for the department’s actions. 

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Parents of Boulder man killed by Clear Creek deputies seeking accountability

Christian Glass was shot in Silver Plume during an encounter with Clear Creek deputies in June

Posted

Parents of Christian Glass, a 22-year-old Boulder man killed by Clear Creek deputies in June 2022 held a press conference Sept. 13 to call for accountability for the department’s actions. 

On the evening of June 10, Glass crashed his car in the small town of Silver Plume and called the police for help.  As reported by the Clear Creek Courant, Christian Glass was shot by deputies after being  “argumentative and uncooperative.” 

Newly released bodycam video provided by the Glass family's attorney and posted on the KUSA-TV website shows the police tactics used during the 70-minute encounter at the 600 block of Main Street in Silver Plume. 

The Courant reported at the time that additional officers, including one from the Idaho Springs Police Department, arrived for backup. ISPD Chief Nate Buseck elaborated that his officer was there only as support.

Asked further about the scene, Buseck said the man seemed to be either on drugs or having a mental health crisis, and was not complying with orders to leave the vehicle.  Deputies eventually broke a window and removed the knife, but the man grabbed a second knife and a rock. 

Deputies reported firing bean bag rounds at him, then a Taser to no effect, before Glass tried to stab an officer and deputies fired multiple shots at him.

Clear Creek Undersheriff Bruce Snelling had said that officers were “looking for a peaceful resolution, to provide him with help or assistance or whatever he needed."

This previous reporting indicated uncooperative behavior from Glass, but the newly released bodycam footage instead shows a confused and frightened Glass telling officers he was "terrified."

The footage does not show any indication of Glass attempting to assault officers. Glass remained inside his vehicle with windows up until minutes before his death. 

Around 30 minutes into the footage, officers were friendly with Glass, offering him snacks and asking to look at some of the precious stones he had in his car. At 58 minutes, they were practicing deep breathing together. 

Not even 10 minutes later, police broke the window of Glass's vehicle,  tried a few seconds of non-lethal force and then shot him five times. 

According to the footage, there were not even two minutes between the police breaking Glass's vehicle windows and killing him. 

In the first time speaking to the public since their son's death, Glass' parents, Sally and Simon, called for accountability from police departments nationwide. They said their son suffered from depression and had a recent diagnosis of ADHD. He took Ritalin for the condition, they said. The attorneys do not believe the incident was a result of drug use. 

The family brought items to a press conference at their attorney's Denver office to remember Christian, including a pendant and precious stones he had in his car at the time of his killing.

On the night of June 10, Christian was coming back from a rock gathering trip, his parents said. He was an amateur geologist, which explained the "weapons" in his car. They were tools for excavating, including small knives and mallets. 

Simon and Sally have two daughters, and the family will remain in Colorado despite the tainted memories the state now brings. 

Sally asked that police departments “hire people with kind hearts and a moral compass."

“They should be protecting us, not attacking us,” she said.

In a statement released Sept. 13, 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum said the office is reviewing the events with help from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. 

“We are working diligently to thoroughly review the evidence in this case,” McCollum said. “I will release my decision on the action this office will take as soon as the review process and a complete and thorough investigation is completed. While we understand that public sentiment may desire this process to move at a more rapid pace, it is not in the interests of justice and fairness to the family of the victim for this matter to be rushed to a conclusion.”

The 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has been openly communicating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI Denver Division regarding this case.

In a statement released Sept. 16, the Board of County Commissioners of Clear Creek County offered condolences to the Glass family, and called the circumstances surrounding his death "deeply troubling." 

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