The two Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputies indicted in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Christian Glass last year are challenging the charges against them, saying prosecutors don’t have enough evidence against them.
Attorneys for Kyle Gould filed a motion Friday asking the judge overseeing the former sergeant’s case to dismiss the two charges against him: criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. Gould was off-duty at the time of the June 11 killing but authorized the law enforcement officers on scene to break the window to Glass’s car.
Glass called 911 after he crashed his car on an embankment in Silver Plume and told the call-taker he was afraid of “skinwalkers” and people chasing him. He sat in the driver’s seat while officers for more than an hour attempted to coax him out of the car before deciding to forcibly remove him, prompting Glass to grab a knife and swing it at one of the officers who was standing outside the rear driver’s-side window.
One of the Clear Creek deputies on scene, Andrew Buen, then shot and killed Glass.
The grand jury that indicted Gould and Buen in November found that Glass acted in self-defense and wouldn’t have posed a threat to anyone had Gould not authorized the breach. There was no probable cause that Glass committed any crime and there was no reason to detain him, the grand jury found.
Gould’s attorneys argued that the former sergeant cannot be held criminally accountable for Glass’s killing. Gould was at home when Buen called him for instructions on how to handle the situation, attorney Christopher Brousseau said. Although Gould authorized the forced entry, it was the seven officers on scene that decided to follow through with it, Brousseau said.
“No evidence was presented that Mr. Gould knew or suspected that the end result would be that Mr. Glass would be shot or killed,” the motion to dismiss states.
Gould’s attorneys also disputed the grand jury’s finding that Glass posed no threat and that there was no evidence of a crime.
“The officers in Silver Plume that night could not simply let Mr. Glass go on his way,” the motion states. “His car was high-centered, and it is unlikely that he could have driven away, but to allow that to potentially happen would have put other people, members of the community, at risk. Had the officers let Mr. Glass walk away, in his condition, with knives, would also have been an unjustifiable risk to the public.”
Similar to the grand jury’s findings, an investigation conducted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office also found officers on scene had no reason to force Glass from his car because he posed no threat to himself or others. Policing experts interviewed by The Denver Post also said there was no reason to force Glass from the car.
Body camera footage also shows that a Colorado State Patrol supervisor questioned whether there was any reason to contact Glass after a trooper on scene called him to discuss the ongoing incident.
Attorneys for Buen said during a court hearing Monday that they also planned to file a motion to dismiss the three charges against him: second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment.
Gould’s motion for dismissal also provided new details about the grand jury process that led to the indictment of the two deputies. According to the motion, prosecutors called only one witness: a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent who interviewed the involved officers after the shooting.
Clear Creek County District Court Judge Catherine Cheroutes said Monday she would consider the motions to dismiss as well as prosecutors’ rebuttals and issue a written order on whether there is enough probable cause for the cases to continue.
Both Buen and Gould were fired from the sheriff’s office after they were indicted.
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