Charges are brought against six more officers, too.
A former sergeant, Kyle Gould of Denver, was one of two officers in Colorado accused of aggravating a standoff causing the shooting death of 22-year-old Christian Glass, an individual who suffered from mental health issues. However, Gould, a sheriff’s office shift supervisor from Clear Creek, did not witness what happened and could only watch live streaming of bodycam footage in real-time.
The incident in which lead to the shooting death happened back in 2022 when Glass asked sheriff’s deputy Andrew Buen for help with a stuck SUV and was shot down by officer Andrew Buen him under Gould’s leadership. Gould then allegedly allowed Buen to pull Glass out of his vehicle illegitimately because they could not prove his guilt in any criminal activity.
After being indicted last year, Gould and Buen were fired from the department. Gould’s plea deal entailed acknowledging guilt for the misdemeanor for failing to intervene, created following the new statute adopted in 2020 after the policing reform law. However, the plea agreement would sentence him three hundred sixty-four (364) days of jail time, his would-be probation.
In the sentencing process, Judge Catherine Cheroutes noted that incarceration would be appropriate but instead placed a two-year probation on Gould. He will also give up his certification as a police or security officer in Colorado. Christian Glass’s parents, Sally and Simon Glass observed the courtroom proceedings.
The lawyer of the Glass family commented positively about the prosecutor’s actions and stated that Gould admitted the guilt and paid for it. They hope that the law enforcement community takes lessons from that case and adopts new policies and culture to avoid such tragedies in the future.
In total, eight Colorado officers have now been charged to date for their connection with the fatal shooting that day. Each have been charged with one count of “failing to intervene to prevent or stop a fellow police officer from using excessive physical force.” This is a misdemeanor that was enacted shortly after the police-caused fatality of George Floyd back in 2020. Idaho Springs police Chief Nick Buseck stated that these charges were “applied in a blanket manner” to the six officers who were brought into the case after Gould and Buen.
“It’s not that they didn’t do anything wrong. That’s the point. They didn’t do anything,” Sally Glass said at a press conference standing next to her husband and lawyers.
Fifth District Attorney Heidi McCollum commented that she and her prosecutors had discussing for some time charging the other six officers in the case.
“I am aware that this might not be a popular decision,” she said. “But at the end of the day my job is not to do what is popular. My job is to follow the law, and this is a decision that I stand behind.”
The context of this case provides highlights the ongoing need to improve law enforcement training processes and the need to advocate for an increase in public knowledge of mental health matters. The case provides an opportunity for more far-reaching reforms to minimize wrongful deaths.