Killeen police pull student off bus

Two Killeen police responded about 2:55 p.m. April 21, 2016, to a Killeen school district bus involving a fight between two Gateway High School students. Police are seen entering the bus.

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.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(2) comments

timebandid

It is my belief, in viewing the video, that the police officers acted appropriately in the take down of this student. The minor injuries also indicate that there was not any extreme force used in this incident. In my opinion, this is just another attempt, by a perpetrator of a crime, to seek to profit by it. Our Police Dept. and city should not allow itself to be held hostage for the financial gain of a criminal. This is nothing more that a shakedown hoping to bleed money from this city. This young man should have learned a lesson in respect for authority: for the bus driver, her assistant, other students, and the police. But instead he is being taught that he are not responsible for his actions. That's why these acts of violence happen in the first place.

Hacksaw

Another out of control punk taken down by the long arm of the law. You don't explode in a fit of rage, with impunity, in front of police who have been called to a fight on a school bus. He wasn't "body slammed", he was put down and controlled.
Not everything that happens to you happens because of the color of your skin. Sometimes you bring things onto yourself because of your behavior.
This punk was put under control because he was stupid!

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