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Colorado Sheriff Resigns After Deputies Fatally Shoot Motorist

On August 3, 2023, Rick Albers resigned as Sheriff of Colorado’s Clear Creek County, caving to pressure from county commissioners who accused him of failing to accept responsibility after his deputies fatally shot mentally ill motorist Christian Glass, 22, in June 2022.

The now-former sheriff announced in a Facebook post two weeks earlier that he was ending his 43-year law enforcement career—the last eight as Sheriff—with “mixed emotions.” That followed a meeting of commissioners on June 6, 2023, when they said Albers had failed to address training deficiencies that contributed to Glass’ killing.

The fatal encounter unfolded in June 2022 when Glass, grappling with a mental health crisis, got stranded in his vehicle in Silver Plume and called 911. But when responding Clear Creek deputies failed to coax him from his vehicle, they Tasered him and fired bean-bag rounds at him. When he threatened himself with a knife, they fatally shot him.

A subsequent grand jury investigation found that the deputies faced no imminent danger and needlessly escalated the situation. Former Dep. Andy Buen and his supervisor, former Sgt. Kyle Gould, now face criminal charges in connection with Glass’ death.

In the aftermath, Glass’ parents, Sally and Simon Glass, joined a chorus calling for Sheriff Albers’ resignation. In May 2023, the couple reached a landmark $19 million settlement, the largest for a police-involved death in Colorado history, surpassing even the $15 million settlement from 2021 tied to the death of Elijah McClain.

The settlement required changes aimed at preventing similar tragedies in the future. Clear Creek County is set to establish a crisis response team, and the Sheriff’s Office will mandate crisis intervention training for all deputies.

Lawyers representing the Glass family from Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC contended that Sheriff Albers bears responsibility for training and disciplinary oversight of those involved in Glass’ death. In a statement, they called his resignation a positive step but emphasized it was only the initial stride towards averting further senseless loss of life.

Undersheriff John Stein took over the Sheriff’s Office until commissioners appointed a replacement for Albers on October 25, 2023: Matthew Harris, who will hold office until a special election later in 2024 for an interim Sheriff, who will then serve the remaining two years before the next scheduled election for the position in 2026.  


Source: Colorado Sun

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