The family of a former Gateway High School student filed a federal brutality suit Tuesday after a Killeen officer allegedly body slammed the teen outside of a Killeen school district bus in April 2016.
A complaint filed in the U.S. Western District Court in Waco on Tuesday said Killeen police officers Travis Lundt and Stephen Frucella violated the constitutional rights of a then-15-year-old student during an arrest at approximately 2:55 p.m. April 21, 2016, after an altercation in the back of the bus.
In a video filmed above the driver’s seat of the bus, officers pulled the teen out of the front door after the student appears to lunge toward another student in the back of the bus. During a brief altercation, Frucella wrapped his arms around the back of the student and appears to pick him up off his feet and take him to the ground.
“A body slam is never an approved use of force,” the lawsuit said. “It is not a recognized ‘takedown’ maneuver under any training provided to Officers Lundt and Frucella.”
Prior to Frucella’s action, the teen appeared to touch Lundt in the chest and raise a pointed finger toward his face.
In an incident report filed by Frucella, the officer said he “placed (the teen) on the ground” after the student appeared to swing his right arm at Lundt.
A medical report provided to the Herald said the teen had two abrasions on his body and a split lip following the incident.
The city of Killeen is also named as a defendant in the suit for its alleged inadequate hiring and training policies for officers.
Rob Ranco, a lawyer with the Komie & Morrow Law Firm in Austin, sent a letter to Killeen City Manager Ron Olson and police Chief Charles “Chuck” Kimble Oct. 19 asking for possible mediation between the city and the teen’s family.
On Tuesday, Ranco said the city never responded to his firm’s request by a Nov. 17 deadline.
The suit sought a trial by jury, and undisclosed amount of damages to cover medical expenses and emotional distress and payment of attorney’s fees.