From Our Perspective: The Christian Glass Case

Jon Topolewski
By: Jon Topolewski
PublishedMay 25, 2023
2 minute read

The parents of a 22-year-old Colorado man killed by police recently accepted the largest settlement in state history. R&H believes this case will change how future police brutality lawsuits are approached by families and agencies.

Case Background

In June 2022, Christian Glass, 22, got his car stuck and phoned 911 for help. When authorities arrived, Christian would not get out of his car when asked, telling police he was afraid. After an hour or so, authorities forcibly removed Christian from the car, and a sheriff’s deputy ultimately shot and killed him.

Christian’s parents say he was having a mental health crisis that day. They worked with an attorney to reach a $19 million settlement, the largest in Colorado history at the time, with the agencies that responded to their son’s call.

Discussion with R&H Personal Injury and Litigation Partner Jon Topolewksi


John, you’ve handled police brutality cases and civil rights complaints in the past. What was your initial reaction when you heard about the settlement, which I think is one of the largest settlements in state history?


Yeah. I mean, obviously, that is the thing that really catches your attention and certainly, you know, and not to undermine that 21-year-old lost his life, which would never happen in a situation like this. The interesting thing about this is that in addition to the monetary amount, is the non-monetary settlements that were reached with the agencies.


Do you recall some of the non-monetary pieces of this settlement and are they unique?


One is a memorial park that’s going to be created in the area, and, you know, any time you have a memorial park, I know from my experience, you’re going to wonder who the person is. And I think that can help keep that person’s memory alive and what happened alive. One of the elements was a virtual reality training program that’s put in place so, like anything, the more practice you have and experience in these situations, the more likely it is you’re going to be able to respond appropriately when and if that time comes up. And I think there’s also another one that is geared specifically towards interacting with people who are having a mental crisis.


So how do you think this case could affect future police brutality lawsuits?


I think looking towards not just how to compensate the families for the loss or the victims for what happened to them but looking prospectively in terms of how can we find ways to bring change. Making sure that you bring these things to the public eye is always important, but creating a process through which future other officers might get retraining, I think that certainly, hopefully going to be something that people will look for. And I know in my practice I’ll be doing that as well.

We Hold Governmental Agencies Accountable

If you or a loved one experienced mistreatment at the hands of a governmental agency, such as a law enforcement agency, talk to a personal injury attorney who has successfully handled civil rights claims. Robinson & Henry’s Civil Litigation and Personal Injury attorneys are passionate about holding bad actors accountable and obtaining justice for victims and their families. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment.

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