The parents of a Christchurch-born man shot dead by United States police have made an emotional plea for those involved to be charged, accusing the officer who pulled the trigger of murder.
Photo: Supplied by RM Rathod Mohamedbhai Attorneys at Law
Christian Glass, 22, was shot five times after calling 911 for roadside assistance when his car got stuck on a small pile of rocks near Denver in Colorado in June.
Speaking to United States reporters for the first time since the shooting, Christian’s father Simon Glass vowed to pursue justice for his son.
“Christian’s killing is a stain on Clear Creek County and on Colorado. It was a murder by a Colorado official, it cannot stand, it is not right,” he said.
Christian Glass was born in Christchurch but his family moved to the US when he was 10.
The family’s lawyers have released hours of distressing body camera footage showing Glass’s final moments, along with 911 audio in which the dispatcher tells police he sounds paranoid.
The footage shows police smashing the window of the car when Glass does not heed their demands to get out, before officers fire bean bag rounds, taser him and shoot him dead.
Simon Glass said his son had called police for help.
“It was dark and he was really worried. He trusted the police to come and help him, instead they attacked and killed him. The killer shot Christian five times, just to be sure,” he said.
“The officer that killed Christian showed callous disregard for human life. He was a bully, yet apparently that bully is back on the street and still serves today,” he said.
Others at the scene failed to intervene to save Christian from the “relentless assault”, Glass said.
“Our son’s life is extinguished and no-one is accountable.”
The district attorney’s office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are reviewing the case.
Photo: Supplied by Rathod Mohamedbhai Attorneys at Law
In a statement released in June, Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office said Glass was argumentative and uncooperative and armed with a knife.
Officers tried to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution for over an hour, they said.
“Deputies were able to break out the car windows and remove one knife. The suspect rearmed himself with a rock and a second knife,” the statement said.
“The suspect eventually tried to stab an officer and was shot.”
Simon Glass said the statement was false in almost every respect.
“It cast a pall over the funeral, a grotesque act of cruelty. This inexcusable account is still not corrected to this day,” he said.
Christian’s mother Sally Glass said her son was a polite, gentle man who had done nothing wrong.
“He was just too scared to get out of his car,” she said.
“Christian didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body, he has never, ever hurt anyone.”
There was a systemic problem with policing in America, where officers seemed to be “spoiling for a fight”, she said.
In the lengthy 911 audio Christian Glass can be heard saying he is stuck in a trap, that he feared “skinwalkers” and was worried he was going to be killed.
“It’s so terrifying. I’m so scared,” he said.
“I have a weapon on me, I will throw them out the window as soon as an officer gets here. I have two knives and a hammer and a rubber mallet.
“I am not dangerous, I will keep my hands completely visible.”
The dispatcher told police Glass sounded “very paranoid”, believed he was in an ambush and people were watching him.
Simon Glass said he had lost countless hours of sleep because of nightmares about his son’s sickening death.
“I must now spend the rest of my life trying to recover from this appalling, crushing loss. No-one seems to know what to do here, but I can tell you what I’m looking for – it is justice,” he said.
Lawyers Siddhartha Rathod and Qusair Mohamedbhai said the Glass family was destroyed by grief but committed to pursuing justice for their treasured son.
They said he had not committed a crime and posed no threat but was eventually surrounded by seven officers with guns drawn.
“From beginning to end, the officers on scene acted unconscionably and inhumanely. Christian had greeted the officers by making a heart sign with his hands,” the lawyers said in a statement.
“Our country cannot continue to tolerate this level of extreme violence by law enforcement. The act of simply calling 911 for help cannot be a death sentence.”
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