The parents of a young man killed by a Colorado sheriff’s deputy have won a $19m (£15.3m) settlement, the largest in state history.
Christian Glass, 22, was killed after his SUV got stuck in the mountain town of Silver Plume, about 45 miles from Denver in June of last year.
Her parents Simon and Sally Glass also won a number of police modifications, including crisis intervention training for officers who respond to people with mental health issues.
Ms Glass said: ‘If we can save another family from having to go through this, if we can stop some other poor person being killed by the police for no reason, then that will be the most important achievement.’
Under the agreement, Clear Creek County, where Mr. Glass was killed, will create a crisis response team and its sheriff’s office will train and certify all deputies in crisis intervention.
The training will also encourage officers to step in if they think a colleague is going too far or if they need a break from a situation.
Simon Glass said, “Speak up and say something and stop the assault – none of them did what they were supposed to do that night and if they did, they’d be alive.”
Christian Glass had called the police for help after his vehicle got stuck on a dirt road, telling the dispatcher various things that showed he was having a mental health crisis.
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When asked if he had any weapons, he said he had a hammer and small knife that he had used for rock hunting but planned to throw them out of the car when help arrived.
Body camera footage of the officers showed him refusing to get out of the car, making heart shapes with his hands at the officers, and praying, “Dear Lord, please don’t let them break the window.”
After trying for an hour to get him out of the car, the officers decided to fight their way through it, despite there being no indication that Mr Glass posed any danger or was suspected of a crime, he uncovered a large sworn in November of last year.
They broke through the window and pelted him with bagged ammunition — a type of truncheon shot, fired from a rifle, used to subdue suspects without killing them — and then tasered him.
Mr Glass had then waved a knife “in a state of complete panic and self-defense,” the grand jury said, before waving it in the direction of one of the officers.
Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Buen then fired his pistol five times.
“No reason to believe Mr. Glass would be a danger”
Buen and former Sergeant Kyle Gould, his supervisor, are both being prosecuted in his death.
Gould was not at the scene of the murder but had watched the events on body camera footage and gave officers permission to remove Mr Glass from his vehicle, court documents said.
The grand jury said, “Were it not for Gould’s decision to remove Mr. Glass from the vehicle, there is no reason to believe Mr. Glass would have been a danger to law enforcement personnel, to himself or for any member of the public.”
‘Officers who stood by and did not intervene to protect Christian’
Mr. Glass, a trained chef and talented artist, was born in New Zealand but he and his family were living in Colorado when he was killed.
Glass family lawyers Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC said, “This settlement sends a message that such injustice will not be tolerated and those responsible will be held accountable, including those officers who stood by and failed to intervene to protect Christian.”