Ex-Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads Guilty to Failing to Intervene in Fatal Shooting

A former Colorado sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty this week to failure to intervene in connection with the fatal shooting last year of a man who had called 911 for roadside assistance, prosecutors said on Friday. Six other law enforcement officers who responded to the 911 call were also charged in the case.

As part of a plea agreement, the former sheriff’s deputy, Kyle Gould, who worked for the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department, was sentenced on Thursday to two years of probation and will be barred from working in law enforcement again, the district attorney’s office for the Fifth Judicial District said in a statement. Under the deal, more serious charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment that had been brought against Mr. Gould in the fatal shooting of Christian Glass, 22, were dropped.

Bob Weiner, a lawyer representing Mr. Gould, said on Friday that Mr. Gould was at home and off duty on June 10, 2022, the night of the shooting. Still, it was determined that Mr. Gould had played a role in the fatal shooting as the supervisor of one of the deputies who responded to the 911 call.

The shooting led to a $19 million settlement for the family of Mr. Glass and prompted the Colorado State Patrol to change how its officers train to handle high-stress situations.

Heidi McCollum, the district attorney for the Fifth Judicial District, said in the statement that “law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their actions when performing their trusted public service duties.”

Mr. Glass had called 911 for help on June 10, 2022, after his vehicle became stuck on a mountain road at night outside Denver. About half a dozen law enforcement officers from several agencies who responded to the call spent more than hour trying to persuade Mr. Glass to get out of the vehicle.

Mr. Glass had a knife in his hand, and the situation later escalated. The officers used a stun gun on Mr. Glass and fired beanbag rounds at him before he was fatally shot. Sally Glass, his mother, has previously said that her son was “having a mental health episode.”

The Denver Post reported that Steve Potts, the chief deputy district attorney in the Fifth Judicial District, told the court Thursday that Mr. Gould had been contacted at home the night of the shooting by Deputy Andrew Buen of the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office and that Mr. Gould had approved the actions that eventually led to Mr. Glass’s death.

Lawyers for the Glass family said that Mr. Buen had shot and killed Mr. Glass.

Mr. Buen was charged last year with second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment. Mr. Buen pleaded not guilty to all three charges on Nov. 2, according to the district attorney’s office. His next court date is scheduled for Dec. 20.

The six law enforcement officials who were charged on Thursday each face one count of failure to intervene, a misdemeanor, according to the district attorney’s office. The officers who were charged were Randy Williams, the Georgetown town marshal; Officer Timothy Collins of the Georgetown Police Department; Officer Brittany Morrow of the Idaho Springs Police Department; Trooper Ryan Bennie of the Colorado State Patrol; and Officers Christa Lloyd and Mary J. Harris of the Colorado Division of Gaming. Marshal Williams was also charged with third-degree assault.

Lawyers representing the family of Mr. Glass said in a statement on Thursday that the six law enforcement officers who were charged all had “ample opportunity to stop the unjustified and senseless use of force against Christian Glass.”

“They took part in and enabled a plan to use criminal and unlawful force against Christian,” the lawyers said. “Had any one of these six officers stepped up to do the right thing, Christian would be alive today.”

It was unclear on Friday whether the six officers who were charged had lawyers. They are all scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 12.

Chief Nathan Buseck of the Idaho Springs Police Department said in a statement on Friday that he “strongly” believed that “Officer Morrow was not in a position to intervene.” Officer Morrow will continue to work patrol duties as the case unfolds, he said.

Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said in a statement that he had found “no indication that Trooper Bennie had violated any Colorado State Patrol policy or training.”

“I am shocked by the decision of the district attorney to pursue charges against Trooper Bennie,” Colonel Packard said, adding that Trooper Bennie would be reassigned to an administrative position.

The Colorado Division of Gaming declined to comment on Friday, citing the pending litigation. The Georgetown Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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