The death of 22-year-old Christian Glass in Silver Plume on June 11 made national news. Glass called 911 for roadside assistance, but the situation went from bad to absolute worst when Clear Creek County Sheriff’s deputies showed up.
Instead of helping the stranded driver, who told the officers he was terrified, officers killed him for being “argumentative and uncooperative.” Glass refused to leave his car and attempted to stab an officer with a knife when they shattered a car window to take him into custody. Officers then shot Glass six times with bean bag rounds, Tased him multiple times using two separate Tasers, and finally shot the man five times. Glass is also shown stabbing himself before he died.
Glass had no history of mental illness and had only minor traces of drugs in his system, some of which were likely prescribed medication. He also offered to throw the knife out the window before the situation escalated, but apparently, the officers did not allow him to do so.
An all-too-common occurrence
Many young men now live in fear that they will be pulled over here in Colorado or elsewhere in the U.S. This is because officers often lack the skills or training to defuse situations where they encounter citizens who fear for their lives or panic as officers give orders. Officers perceive drivers who do not immediately follow an officer’s instructions as a threat and escalate the situation. This situation has happened repeatedly, with George Floyd only one of many examples. It also occurs in incidents with less fatal outcomes.
Reforms can’t come soon enough
Experts hired by the Associated Press reviewed the footage of the incident and agree — in this case, behavioral health specialists or a crisis response team may have gotten a better result in this unfortunate and tragic death. While Denver has behavior health specialists dispatched by 911 operators, much of the region does not.
It is essential to be very careful around officers
Anyone stopped by police needs to be extremely careful. Not only should they be mindful of not saying anything incriminating, but they should also keep in mind that the officer is not there to be their friend. Glass’s family has called for accountability, and the case is being investigated by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Fifth Judicial District, which includes Clear Creek County.