Colorado to Pay Record $19 Million Settlement to Family of 22-Year-Old Killed by Police
The groundbreaking $19 million settlement in Colorado, where the state and local authorities will compensate the family of Christian Glass, a 22-year-old killed by police after a car crash.
In a landmark decision, the state of Colorado, along with local authorities, has agreed to pay a historic settlement of $19 million to the family of Christian Glass, a 22-year-old who tragically lost his life in a police shooting. The settlement, which marks the largest police settlement ever paid by the state and one of the largest in the country, aims to address the profound loss suffered by the Glass family and initiate lasting change in police practices. This pivotal case brings to the forefront the urgent need for improved responses to mental health crises and holds those responsible accountable for their actions.
The Incident and Legal Resolution:
Christian Glass was fatally shot by police officers in June of last year, shortly after he called for help following a car crash. Despite seeking assistance on a 911 call, Glass, who was experiencing a mental health episode, refused to exit his crashed vehicle. Tragically, this encounter ended with the police using deadly force. The settlement, which involves the state of Colorado, Clear Creek County, the town of Georgetown, and the city of Idaho Springs, provides financial compensation to the Glass family while also taking significant steps toward systemic change.
Honoring Christian’s Memory and Effecting Lasting Change:
In addition to the substantial monetary compensation, the settlement outlines several crucial actions to be taken by the state and local authorities involved. Clear Creek County has committed to establishing a specialized crisis response team to handle mental health emergencies and will provide crisis intervention training to all patrol officers. Furthermore, the county has agreed to dedicate a public park in remembrance of Christian Glass, allowing his parents to share their son’s story with new patrol recruits at the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office. As part of the settlement, all three local authorities have issued formal apology letters acknowledging that Glass’s death was preventable.
The Glass Family’s Perspective:
In a statement released by the Glass family’s attorneys, they emphasized that Christian should be alive today, underscoring the significance of this settlement as a message against such injustices. The family’s legal representatives expressed their belief that those responsible, including the officers who failed to intervene, will be held accountable. The settlement not only seeks justice for Christian Glass but also serves as a catalyst for change within law enforcement practices.
Prior Instances of Police Settlements:
The magnitude of this settlement echoes the $15 million payment made by the city of Aurora, Colorado, in the case of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who tragically died in police custody. Elijah’s case drew widespread attention and highlighted concerns regarding the excessive use of force and racial biases within law enforcement. The sizeable settlements in both cases reflect the urgency to rectify systemic issues and ensure police accountability.
Colorado’s record $19 million settlement in the case of Christian Glass’s tragic death underscores the imperative need for improved police responses to mental health crises. By acknowledging the avoidable nature of the incident and taking steps to effect lasting change, the state and local authorities involved in the settlement are setting a precedent for accountability and reform. As the Glass family seeks solace and justice, this landmark case serves as a reminder of the ongoing work required to build a safer and more compassionate society for all.