The family of a 15-year-old Black teen seen pinned down by an off-duty police officer in a video that went viral in June filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Village of Lansing and the officer involved on Thursday (Nov. 9). The officer, who has not been named by the police department, “choked, throttled and battered” Jordan Brunson and as a result the teen continues to suffer from “bodily injury, pain, severe mental and emotional distress, fear, anguish, humiliation” according to the lawsuit obtained by NBC News. It also states that the actions taken by the officer “were extreme and outrageous and were done intentionally.” Village Attorney Matthew Welch told NBC News, “We are reviewing allegations of the complaint and we’re not commenting any further at this time.” A spokesperson for the Lansing Police Department declined to comment on the lawsuit. The family is requesting disciplinary action be taken against the officer, an audit of the use of force within the Lansing police department and financial compensation. Andrew M. Stroth, a civil rights attorney representing Jordan and his family said they are pressing the city to do the right thing. “Earlier today, the Brunson family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Village of Lansing and the police officer who used excessive force and threatened to kill 15-year-old Jordan Brunson,” Stroth said in an email. “The family wants to send a message to the Mayor of Lansing and the Police Department. They want to make sure this does not happen to any other child.” In June, a video posted on social media shows the officer crouching over Jordan, pinning him with one knee and a hand on his neck and upper chest. “Let me go,” the teen is heard telling the officer. “No, you come on my property I’m going to f*ing kill you,” the officer responds. When Jordan asks the officer why he had him on the ground, the officer says, “Because your friend is being a fing idiot.” As he tries to get up, the officer shoves him back on the ground and puts his hands at his neck again. “You’re trespassing in my fing yard you understand that?” the officer says.
According to the police statement, there was a 911 call about a fight in the area that involved 30 juveniles. When police arrived, the fight had already ended. The off-duty officer said he found a backpack with a BB gun inside in his backyard. The officer said he encountered a 15-year-old white teen who said he had been in a fight with other teens in the neighborhood when a 15-year-old Black teen approached. According to the report, the teens refused to stay until other police officers arrived, which led the off-duty officer to begin “physically detaining one of the juveniles,” the statement said. Both teens stayed until they were turned over to arriving officers and then taken home to their parents. The officer has been put on administrative leave.
(Photo courtesy of WMAG/Chicago)