A Spokane Valley man was cleared Thursday of charges that he assaulted the sheriff’s deputies who shot him in 2009, leaving him paralyzed below the chest.
David J. Glidden, 28, broke into tears as the Spokane County Superior Court jury read the verdict of “not guilty” on two counts of third-degree assault on law enforcement officers, neither of whom were injured.
“The cops overreacted. They shot me so many times. I was worried that no one would listen to me,” Glidden said after the decision.
The case began on Oct. 30, 2009, when deputies Aaron Childress and Griffen Criswell were dispatched to 4727 E. Third Ave. to investigate reports of a suicidal subject. Glidden, described as a recovering alcoholic, became despondent after his girlfriend broke up with him and he relapsed, drinking heavily the day of the police encounter.
Public defender Kyle Zeller said the deputies went to opposite corners of the home before Glidden came out his door holding an Airsoft pellet pistol, a toy that resembles an actual firearm but shoots plastic projectiles instead of bullets. The deputies, who were assigned to the Spokane Valley Police Department, didn’t identify themselves as law enforcement officers when they knocked on his door but both were in full uniform.
When Glidden emerged from the home with the pellet gun, “The deputies thought it was real and they testified that they feared for their safety,” said Zeller.
“I didn’t have an idea that the cops came,” Glidden said.
Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Johnson said that when Glidden turned toward one of the deputies with what they thought was a real gun, both deputies opened fire. Glidden was hit with at least three bullets from Childress’ .45-caliber pistol but he believes he was also struck with the blast from Criswell’s shotgun.
Some of the rounds went through the wall of a neighbor’s home.
Zeller noted that the evidence of Glidden’s injuries was not admitted during trial, which began Monday.
“Obviously, we are relieved for Mr. Glidden,” said Zeller, referring to his co-counsel Colin Charbonneau. Glidden “will have to live with this action for the rest of his life.”
Glidden, who is confined to a wheelchair, said he will now seek filing a civil suit against the county for the actions by the deputies.
“I’m going to try to find a surgery so I can walk again,” Glidden said. “I don’t want my kids to grow up without a dad.”