6 Colorado officers charged with failing to intervene during fatal standoff

DENVER — Six Colorado law enforcement officers have been charged with failing to intervene during a standoff that ended last year with the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man suffering from a mental health crisis, prosecutors said Friday.

The announcement came a day after a former sergeant previously charged in the murder of Christian Glass pleaded guilty to failure to intervene, a crime created by state lawmakers in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd. Kyle Gould was the supervisor of the sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed Glass, Andrew Buen, after Glass called for help when his SUV became stuck on June 11, 2022.

Both Gould and Buen were indicted by a grand jury last year after a grand jury found they had unnecessarily escalated the standoff. Buen has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment.

The six other officers from different agencies now facing charges were all at the scene and did not intervene to stop Buen, 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum said in a statement about the new charges and Gould’s guilty plea.

One of the six, who Gould’s complaint alleges used a Taser on Glass, was also charged with third-degree assault, which is also a misdemeanor in addition to failing to intervene, she said.

“Law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their actions in carrying out their trusted public service duties,” she said.

An attorney representing Glass’s parents, Siddhartha Rathod, praised the prosecutor’s decision.

“If any of these six officers had said anything, Christian would still be alive today,” he said.

Gould was indicted on charges of criminally negligent homicide and recklessly endangering Glass’s death, prompting calls for police reforms focused on crisis intervention and leading to a $19 million settlement with Glass’s parents.

Gould was not at the scene himself, but spoke with Buen by telephone and viewed what happened using live camera footage, according to his complaint. Prosecutors alleged that Gould allowed Buen to remove Glass from his vehicle even though he was not suspected of committing any crimes.

Gould was sentenced to two years’ probation and ordered to pay the maximum fine of $1,000 after negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors. He is prohibited from working as a law enforcement officer again.

A conviction for failure to intervene carries a prison sentence of up to 364 days.

Glass called for help after his SUV became stuck on a dirt road in the mountain town of Silver Plume, telling a dispatcher he was being followed and making other statements that showed he was paranoid, hallucinating or delusional and a mental was experiencing a health crisis. .

He refused to get out of the vehicle after law enforcement officers from several agencies arrived. Officers’ body camera footage showed Glass making heart shapes with his hands for officers and praying, “Dear Lord, please don’t let them break the window.”

After about an hour of negotiations, officers decided to enter the car even though there was no indication Glass posed a danger or was suspected of a crime, the complaint said.

After the window was smashed, body camera footage shows officers shooting Glass with beanbag rounds and then tasing him. Glass brandished a knife in “a state of complete panic and self-defense” before turning in his seat to thrust a knife in an officer’s direction, the complaint said. Buen then fired his gun five times at Glass.

The grand jury found that at no time was the other officer “in imminent danger of being stabbed by Mr. Glass.”