Columbus police shoot and kill unarmed Black man in bed

Christian Glass

Prosecutors in Colorado are investigating the fatal shooting of a man in a mental health crisis who called 911 when his car became stuck on a mountain road.

Christian Glass, 22, sounded paranoid and mentally unstable when he requested emergency services on the night of June 11. “I’m in a 2007 Honda Pilot. I will not be fine on my own,” he told an operator. “You’re sending someone right? You tracked my location? My car is stuck under a bush … I love you. You’re my light right now. I’m really scared. I’m sorry.”

Glass, an amateur geologist, informed the dispatcher that he had two knives and a hammer in his car. “I’m not dangerous. I’ll keep my hands completely visible. I understand this is a dodgy situation.”

When police arrived on the scene, Glass offered to throw the knives out of the car, but officers refused. They insisted he get out of the car. For more than an hour, officers from Clear Creek, Idaho Springs, Georgetown Police, Colorado State Patrol, and the Colorado Division of Gaming congregated outside his car.

Glass told officers with his hands up that he didn’t feel safe getting out of the car. He took the keys out of the ignition and put them on the dashboard and told them he was scared and wanted to stay in the car. He wasn’t suspected of any crime…Throughout the confrontation, Glass remained in the car with the windows rolled up. He can be seen making a heart-shape with his hands at the officers.

The outside agencies seemed to question why Clear Creek officers were so insistent on Glass exiting the vehicle.

A supervisor at the Colorado State Patrol, at one point, radioed in that Glass hadn’t committed any crimes.

“Can you ask Clear Creek what their plan is? If there is no crime and he’s not suicidal or homicidal or a great danger, then there’s no reason to contact him,” a CSP sergeant says over the radio. “Is there a medical issue we’re not aware of?”

“No,” a patrol trooper responded back.

Ultimately, the officers on scene attempted to break Glass’ window, shooting him with bean bags and a taser as he screamed in panic. Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Buen then opened fire and killed Glass while he was still in his car, doors closed. Buen was almost immediately put back on duty and has not suffered any consequences.

Heidi McCollum, the Clear Creek County district attorney, said in a statement last week that her office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are reviewing the shooting to decide whether to present the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Donovan Lewis

Newly released body camera footage shows that a Columbus K-9 police officer shot and killed a Black man within one second of encountering him in his apartment.

Police officers were in 20-year-old Donovan Lewis’ apartment serving a felony warrant for improperly handling a firearm last month. After detaining two other men in the apartment, the video shows officers gathering before a closed door. While holding back his dog, K-9 Officer Ricky Anderson opened the door and immediately fired his gun at Lewis as he sat up in bed.

Chief Elaine Bryant said Anderson fired his gun when Lewis appeared to raise a hand with something in it. Moving frame-by-frame through the video showed the man raising his right hand toward officers, while he put his left hand back toward a pillow.

“There was, like, a vape pen that was found on the bed right next to him,” Bryant said.

After the shooting, the footage showed officers putting Lewis in handcuffs while he was on the bed and then carrying him out of the apartment. It wasn’t clear from the video where he was shot, as police pulled his pants off outside but also appeared to try to treat the left side of his chest.

Lewis was pronounced dead an hour later.

Anderson, the officer who shot Lewis, is a 30-year veteran of Columbus Police Department. He is on paid leave pending investigation of the shooting.

Yareni Rios-Gonzalez

A woman suffered “serious bodily injuries” when the parked police patrol car she was detained in was struck by a train in Colorado.

Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, was pulled over by a Platteville officer investigating a road rage incident on September 16. She reportedly stopped just past the train tracks and the officer pulled in behind her, parking his cruiser directly on the crossing. Rios-Gonzalez was detained on suspicion of felony menacing. The officer placed her in the back of his vehicle, stopped on the tracks, while searching her vehicle.

It is unclear how much warning the officer had of the incoming train or if he attempted to remove Rios-Gonzales from the cruiser before the crash.

In response to an inquiry Monday, Platteville Police Chief Carl Dwyer said the officer involved from his department has been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is completed.

Fort Lupton police are investigating the road rage report, while the Colorado State Patrol is investigating the crash. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said it is investigating the woman’s injury while she was in police custody.

Law professor Ian Farrell said the officer who parked the car on the tracks could be charged with reckless endangerment.

“In order to be reckless, you just have to be aware of circumstances that would make a reasonable person not do what you’re doing,” he said. “So the police officer was aware that the vehicle was on the train tracks, and, in my view at least, a reasonable person in that situation knowing what the police officer knew would not take that risk.”

Had it not been a police officer who parked on the train tracks, Farrell said, he suspects charges would already have been filed.

Michael Jennings

A Black man who was arrested in May for watering a neighbor’s flowers filed a federal lawsuit against the officers and the Alabama town of Childersburg.

Michael Jennings, a pastor at Vision of Abundant Life Church, was asked to water the flowers while a neighbor was out of town. Police arrived at the house, claiming that someone had reported suspicious activity on the property, and demanded Jennings show them identification.

“They say you are not supposed to be here,” the officer said.

“I’m supposed to be here,” Jennings replied. “I’m looking after their house while they’re gone, looking after their flowers.”

Asked by the police to show identification, Jennings, who had already identified himself, declined. Under Alabama law, officers are only allowed to stop a person in a public place and demand ID if they suspect a felony or other public offense has been committed…

“You have no right to approach me, I’ve done nothing wrong,” he said. “If you want to lock me up, lock me up, I’m going to continue watering these flowers.”

To which the officer said: “Look man, just calm down.”

The officer can be heard telling a fellow officer through his walkie-talkie: “We’ve got one that’s not listening to us.”

The police charged Jennings with “obstructing governmental operations,” though later dropped the charges. Jennings sued the city last week, alleging that the officers violated his constitutional rights.

As a direct and proximate result of the individual Defendants’ wrongful conduct, the Pastor Jennings sustained substantially injuries. These injuries include, but are not limited to, loss of constitutional and federal rights, emotional distress, and/or aggravation of pre-existing conditions, and ongoing special damages medically/psychologically related treatment caused by the unconstitutional and moving forces concerted conduct of all these Defendants. Plaintiff also continues to suffer ongoing emotional distress, with significant PTSD type symptoms, including sadness, anxiety, stress, anger, depression, frustration, sleeplessness, nightmares and flashbacks from his unlawful arrest.