A Colorado man was shot and killed after asking 911 for help following a car accident

“There was no need to threaten him with force; to draw guns; to break his car window; to fire beanbag rounds from a close distance; to tase him; to shoot him dead. From beginning to end, the officers on scene acted unconscionably and inhumanely,” Glass’ parents and attorneys said in a news release.

According to his family Glass, from Boulder, Colorado, had an accident on the side of the road when he called 911 for help and was “fully contained in his vehicle and presenting no threat.” But instead of just assisting him, the family claims deputies from the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident with hostility because Glass allegedly had a knife on him.

“The driver and sole occupant, an adult white male, immediately became argumentative and uncooperative with the Deputies and had armed himself with a knife,” the news release from the sheriff’s office said, according to CNN. ”Additional law enforcement officers arrived and for over an hour tried to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution. Deputies were able to break out the car windows and remove one knife. The suspect rearmed himself with a rock and a second knife.”

In a news conference Tuesday, the family addressed this claim and said Glass didn’t carry weapons; instead, they say, the knives he had were rock tools used for carving rocks as a form of art. They even referenced a 911 call in which Glass can be heard telling the dispatcher he has a knife but can throw it out once an officer comes. Body camera footage of the incident released by the family supports this claim with Glass Glass offering to throw the weapons out of the car and a responding officer telling him not to do so.

“He actually offered to throw his rock knives and his tools out of the window so they wouldn’t be worried. But they told him no, and he obeyed,” Glass’ mother, Sally Glass, said during the news conference.

In the video, released by the family, the responding deputies can also be heard asking Glass to exit the vehicle several times. According to the sheriff’s office, while deputies allegedly secured one knife, Glass had a rock and the other with him, which is what caused deputies to repeatedly ask him to drop it.

After he reportedly did not drop the second knife, deputies deployed bean bags and a taser “with negative results” before Glass “eventually tried to stab an officer,” the sheriff’s office said, according to CNN.

Body camera footage then shows law enforcement shooting Glass with a stun gun. He is then “seen twisting and then seemingly thrusting a knife toward an officer” moments before police fire several gunshots.

“The only thing we have edited from the videos is after Christian is removed from the car. We blur the screen where his body is on the ground and medical treatment is being provided to his body. We felt it wasn’t appropriate to have Christian’s naked body out there in the world,” attorney Siddhartha Rathod said.

WARNING: The video contains graphic content, including gunshots, violence, and graphic language. It has been edited to blur Glass’ body.

According to 9News, the released video footage has also raised questions about police tactics used during the 70-minute encounter.

Instead of the following protocol of walking away, the officers allegedly responded to Glass, who even gestured with his hands in a heart shape toward them in frustration.

“Industry best practices in law enforcement, we recommend that officers just leave the scene. Walk away from this scenario,” Ed Obayashi, a sheriff’s deputy in California who is the lead trainer for use of force in that state, told 9News.

“Once they decided to force entry—break a window—it was predictable that this event could most likely unfold the way it did,” Obayashi said. “It’s predictable in law enforcement that that is going to provoke some type of negative unfortunate response, and we’ve seen it time and time again.”

Other experts who reviewed the call Glass made to 911 noted that it was clear he was distraught; and officers were told he seemed paranoid by the dispatcher who alerted them to the scene.

“He sounded like he had some sort of a mental illness,” said 9NEWS psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel, who also reviewed the video and 911 call for 9NEWS. “It certainly could have been drug-related. The 911 dispatcher wouldn’t know that. It sounded to me like a delusional disorder or a delusion that’s part of a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia.”

According to 9News, in police radio traffic the dispatcher clearly warns responding deputies that Glass shows signs of paranoia and informs deputies that Glass admitted to having the two knives, a hammer, a rubber mallet, and rocks in the car. The dispatcher also noted that Glass said he would throw them away to make deputies feel safe.

He also told the operator that if he gets out of the car, he might be in danger.

“My vehicle got stuck in a really bad way. … I need immediate assistance, please,” he said. “I will not be fine on my own.”

The entire incident has raised questions about how various emergency agencies should respond to people with mental health issues. 

According to CNN, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation of the incident, and while the deputy who fired his weapon and killed Glass was placed on administrative leave, he has since returned to duty.

“This incident remains under investigation. Following an initial presentation of the case made to the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, CBI Investigative Agents continue to provide additional follow-up to enable the DA’s Office to conduct a full assessment of the facts related to the incident,” the Colorado Bureau of Investigation told CNN in a statement.

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