CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A deputy did not follow policies and procedures when he killed a man who had called 911 for help, an internal affairs investigation found.

The former deputy, Andrew Buen, was indicted on a count of second-degree murder in the death of Christian Glass, a 22-year-old from Boulder who had crashed his vehicle in Clear Creek County.

“Their independent investigation reaffirms the failure of policy and training that resulted in Mr. Buen’s termination,” the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office stated in a release.

The 72-page report gives a timestamped breakdown of the incident. It took hold as a standoff for more than an hour, with Glass refusing to get out of his locked SUV before Buen shot and killed him. All the while, Glass was not suspected of any crimes.

Buen reasoned that he was trying to put Glass on a mental health hold, according to the report. But an investigation found he did not have probable cause to do so.

Christian Glass
Christian Glass was shot and killed by a Clear Creek County Sheriff’s deputy after he called 911 for help. (Photo courtesy of Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC)

No ‘imminent danger,’ investigator finds

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigated the deputy at the request of Clear Creek County Sheriff RIck Albers.

While Glass expressed at one point that he was “insane” and asked to be taken to a mental hospital, investigators found that there was no probable cause for deputies to force him from the vehicle for a mental health hold, according to the report.

“Mr. Glass stating he was insane does not in and of itself rise to the level of probable cause to take someone into custody based on that person’s mental state,” the report found.

The law requires a person “must be mentally ill and an imminent danger to themselves or others” to be placed on a mental health hold, known as an M1, according to the report. Officers who face such situations can legally take a person into protective custody, but the law “also allows an officer to consider what lengths they will go to, in order to safely take a person into custody.”

Video and transcripts from the incident show Glass appeared to be acting unusually. He expressed fear and concern for his safety throughout the incident.

Man in driver's seat makes heart shape with his hands
Body camera video shows Christian Glass, 22, before he was shot and killed by a Clear Creek County Sheriff’s deputy.

He told a 911 dispatcher that another vehicle “tried to swerve to hit me with their cars,” so he followed them and got stuck. He said he had two knives, a hammer and a rubber mallet in the vehicle, which he offered to throw out when deputies arrived and said he would make his hands visible, according to the report.

After the deputies’ arrival, Glass at one point picked up a closed knife, but he immediately threw it into the passenger seat, according to the report. At various points in the encounter, he folded his hands into a praying position or in the shape of a heart against the window, and he held an amethyst stone and another large rock in his lap.

Glass stayed seated throughout the encounter, mostly with the windows up, in his locked SUV.

“Mr. Glass would have had to take significant steps to pose an imminent danger
to any officer on scene,” the investigation found. “Up to and including retrieving his knife, exiting the vehicle, and gaining enough proximity to an officer to inflict physical harm on them.”

Without probable cause for a mental health hold and the law “providing the opportunity to leave Mr. Glass sitting alone in his vehicle, any force used to remove him from the vehicle would be unreasonable” and not within policies and procedures, according to the report.

The Sheriff’s Office said that its policies and procedures “are reflective of national best-practice standards,” but a Citizens Advisory Board will continue to review them and recommend improvements.

Murder case pending in the courts

Buen also faces counts of misdemeanor official misconduct and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. A second former deputy, Kyle Gould, was indicted on counts of criminally negligent homicide and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Both were fired after the indictment and released on bond.