Six law enforcement officers in Colorado have been charged in connection with a standoff last year that resulted in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Christian Glass, who was experiencing a mental health crisis. The charges were announced by prosecutors on Friday.
These charges follow the guilty plea by former Sergeant Kyle Gould, who admitted to failing to intervene during the incident. Gould, who supervised Deputy Andrew Buen, the officer who shot Glass, and Buen were both indicted by a grand jury for unnecessarily escalating the situation. Buen has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, official misconduct, and reckless endangerment.
The six other officers, who were present at the scene and did not act to prevent Buen’s actions, face charges of failing to intervene, as stated by 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum. One of these officers, who reportedly used a Taser on Glass, faces an additional charge of third-degree assault.
Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney representing Glass’ parents, commended the district attorney’s action, highlighting that intervention by any of the officers could have saved Glass’ life.
Gould was originally indicted for criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in Glass’ death, leading to police reform calls focusing on crisis intervention. He was not physically present at the scene but authorized Buen’s actions through phone communication and live body camera footage. Gould’s plea agreement led to two years of probation, a $1,000 fine, and a prohibition from working in law enforcement again.
The failing to intervene charge for each officer can result in a sentence of up to 364 days in jail.
The incident began when Glass called for assistance after his SUV got stuck in Silver Plume. His behavior, as indicated in the indictment, suggested he was undergoing a mental health crisis. Despite not being a suspect in any crime, law enforcement decided to forcibly remove Glass from his vehicle after lengthy negotiations. Body camera footage showed a panicked Glass being tased and shot by officers after brandishing a knife in self-defense. The grand jury concluded there was no imminent danger posed by Glass to the officers.