Gov. Jared Polis honored Christian Glass, the 22-year-old killed by a sheriff’s deputy while he suffered a mental health crisis, with a display of his art inside the Capitol building.
“While Christian’s own voice has been silenced, his legacy will live on with the voice of his art and I know that so many people will find meaning in that,” Polis said while standing alongside Glass’ parents Wednesday morning.
The governor also announced that May 24, 2023, will be recognized as “Christian Glass Day.” The recognition comes a day after it was announced Sally and Simon Glass will receive $19 million in a settlement stemming from their son’s death. The deal marks the largest settlement for a police killing in state history and includes changes to how officers are trained at a state and local level.
“What happened should not have happened,” Polis said. “There are too many of these kinds of tragedies in our country, also in our state, and we want to make sure that we can do the best we can to avoid other parents from having to go through what you’ve gone through.”
The state will permanently display three pieces of Christian Glass’ art, with a plaque identifying him as the artist, in government buildings, under the nonfinancial conditions of the lawsuit.
Three pieces of Christian Glass’ art that the state will permanently display in government buildings, under the nonfinancial conditions of the lawsuit. (Provided by the office of Gov. Jared Polis)
Sally Glass said her son would have been so happy to see his art being displayed in the Capitol.
“It means so much because we don’t want to be swept under the carpet. We don’t want Christian to be forgotten,” she said. “We want his memory to live.”
Simon Glass said his son loved Colorado’s open space and driving through the state. He called his death a “terrible crime.”
“We really hope it never happens again in Colorado, ideally, nationwide,” Simon Glass said.
Glass’ death in the small town of Silver Plume along Interstate 70 drew national attention and raised questions once again over how law enforcement responds to 911 calls involving a person who is suffering a mental health crisis. The 22-year-old was shot and killed by police June 2022 as he sat in his car that got stuck along a dirt road.
The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that Glass became “argumentative and uncooperative.” But officers’ body camera footage showed Glass, who made a heart with his hands toward the officers and said he was terrified, never got out of his car. The officers broke out the window, shot him six times with bean bag rounds, multiple times with a Taser, according to the family’s attorney. Former Clear Creek County sheriff deputy Andrew Buen then shot Glass five times with his gun.
Buen and former Sgt. Kyle Gould, his supervisor, were both charged in Glass’ death. A grand jury said the officers were in no imminent danger and concluded their decision to remove Glass from his car directly led to his death.
Lawyers for Buen and Gould have unsuccessfully asked a judge to throw out the charges against them.
As part of the settlement, Clear Creek County will form a crisis response team and its sheriff’s office will train and certify all deputies in crisis intervention, according to documents released by their attorneys. State troopers and Division of Gaming officers will also be shown a video message from Simon and Sally Glass at the beginning of their active bystander training, which encourages officers to intervene if they believe a fellow officer needs to step away from an incident.