BREAKING NEWS : Shooting at Ossian manufacturing company leaves at least 1 injured Full Story

Zachary Cruz files lawsuit against county

The brother of the Parkland, Florida, school shooter is suing several Broward County officials, saying they violated his Eighth Amendment rights and tortured him during a recent stay in jail.

Posted: May 4, 2018 12:57 PM
Updated: May 4, 2018 1:00 PM

The brother of the Parkland, Florida, school shooter is suing several Broward County officials, saying they violated his Eighth Amendment rights and tortured him during a recent stay in jail.

The lawsuit was announced about two hours before Zachary Cruz appeared in court Thursday afternoon for a probation violation hearing.

Cruz admitted to driving without a license, prosecutors said. He will be released on supervised probation for another five months, after getting credit for time served.

The suit targets Judge Kim Theresa Mollica, State Attorney Michael Satz and Assistant State Attorney Sarahnell Murphy and Broward County Sheriff's Capt. Sherea Green, a member of the jail's executive staff.

CNN has reached out to the defendants for comment. The state attorney's office said, "No comment," and the sheriff's office said it wouldn't comment on ongoing litigation.

Cruz requests a jury trial and seeks punitive damages and expenses, the lawsuit said.

Read the lawsuit for yourself (PDF)

The suit alleges Mollica issued an exorbitant $500,000 bail for Cruz based on his older brother's crimes, while jail officials intimidated and harassed Cruz, deprived him of sleep and forced him to wear a restraint vest around the clock.

Zachary Cruz 'has become a villain because of his name'

"After he posted his $25 bail, authorities conspired to hold him in custody, reset his bond to an excessive $500,000, and then engaged in a campaign of intimidation and torture once he was in the Broward main jail facility," said a statement from legal rights group Nexus Derechos Humanos.

In a news conference Thursday, Mike Donovan, the group's president and CEO, said Cruz was subjected to "horrific constitutional abuses."

The allegations

Once Cruz was taken to jail, according to the suit, Green ordered that Cruz be admitted to a mental institution, despite his records saying he had no mental issues, and despite Cruz behaving reasonably and cooperating with officers during his arrest.

A medical report stated that Cruz had no telephone or car, risked "being released to the streets" and had the community on edge, according to the lawsuit.

The 18-year-old spent five days at the Broward Health Medical Center, which released him without prescribing any medication. Doctors decided Cruz "did not display the signs of a mentally disturbed person," according to the lawsuit. Rather, he "was noted as being pleasant, cooperative and alert," it said.

"Reported sadness was temporary and not clinically troubling," the suit said.

Once he was returned to jail, Cruz was placed on 24-hour suicide watch, and Green "assigned a 'one-on-one' deputy to intimidate Cruz," the lawsuit alleges. He was forced to wear a heavy suicide jacket and endure 24-hour "bright lights," the lawsuit said.

"The sleep deprivation tactics, including the use of intimidating and harassing behavior by guards, the use of a restraint vest 24 hours per day, and the use of 24-hour intense lighting, are procedures that amount to torture under the Geneva Convention, and are behaviors we do not permit soldiers to use in the battlefield," the Nexus Derechos Humanos statement said.

Because of these conditions -- which also included daily visits to a nurse who repeatedly told him, "You're not OK" -- Cruz accepted a plea deal "only to escape this treatment," the lawsuit said.

Original arrest

Cruz was arrested March 19 on a misdemeanor trespassing charge for skateboarding on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where his brother fatally shot 17 people on February 14.

At a March 29 court hearing, the younger Cruz was sentenced to six months' probation. He was also ordered to wear a GPS monitor, to stay a mile away from the campus and to have no contact with any of the Parkland victims, their family members or his brother.

According to the lawsuit, these conditions are too burdensome for Cruz. Denying him interaction with his friends at the high school "removes a major source of social support," and cutting him off from his brother "deprives Cruz of his ability to seek understanding and solace from his family during a difficult time," it said.

Cruz was arrested again Tuesday night and booked into Palm Beach County Jail, the jail website said.

According to an arrest warrant, Cruz violated his probation Saturday by operating an SUV without a driver's license and by being close to a school where he was not enrolled.

Cruz was spotted early Saturday afternoon about 25 feet from a parking lot for Park Vista Community High School in Lake Worth, Florida, according to law enforcement documents. The warrant cites two possible probation violations: One demanding he refrain from breaking any laws and another mandating Cruz must avoid school campuses.

At the court hearing Thursday, prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence for the second charge, because Cruz wasn't technically on the campus.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1005797

Reported Deaths: 16449
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1353572119
Lake663011164
Allen57820801
Hamilton46296464
St. Joseph44311613
Elkhart35888509
Vanderburgh32214480
Tippecanoe27898258
Johnson25056445
Hendricks23854359
Porter22890365
Madison18724409
Clark18540252
Vigo17449303
Monroe15242199
LaPorte15124250
Delaware15043261
Howard14719289
Kosciusko12285147
Hancock11709175
Bartholomew11602180
Warrick11287189
Floyd11082215
Wayne10965253
Grant10051220
Morgan9457176
Boone8913116
Dubois8263131
Dearborn820893
Henry8200152
Noble8017106
Marshall7916135
Cass7528121
Lawrence7447171
Shelby7176119
Jackson697289
Gibson6584115
Harrison647591
Knox6418106
Huntington6385100
DeKalb630699
Montgomery6252110
Miami592298
Putnam580078
Clinton574971
Whitley564255
Steuben560676
Wabash5324104
Jasper529879
Jefferson510297
Ripley499886
Adams481576
Daviess4670114
Scott438574
Greene424496
Wells423088
Clay422060
White418164
Decatur4164102
Fayette406187
Jennings386661
Posey376644
LaGrange357678
Washington357651
Randolph344499
Spencer339543
Fountain334760
Sullivan328652
Starke316470
Owen314170
Fulton309467
Orange293564
Jay284145
Franklin265443
Perry265352
Rush261332
Carroll261133
Vermillion257754
Parke231126
Pike228843
Tipton227559
Blackford192642
Pulaski183457
Crawford159223
Newton157848
Benton150217
Brown146147
Martin138219
Switzerland134911
Warren121016
Union107016
Ohio84513
Unassigned0540

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1511760

Reported Deaths: 23616
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1636861666
Cuyahoga1457252442
Hamilton1050421416
Montgomery737101254
Summit614971105
Lucas56058912
Butler51383711
Stark464421056
Lorain35443584
Warren32687373
Mahoning30598675
Clermont28106326
Lake26907443
Delaware24114162
Licking23820287
Trumbull22742556
Fairfield22309246
Greene22212320
Medina21941311
Clark19757351
Richland18500285
Portage17857250
Wood17394221
Allen15905269
Miami15487299
Muskingum14737185
Columbiana13940269
Wayne13722265
Tuscarawas12643304
Marion11906175
Scioto11432161
Pickaway11346141
Erie10811181
Ross10532198
Lawrence9725153
Ashtabula9658200
Hancock9649150
Belmont9262206
Geauga8906157
Jefferson8531197
Huron8338141
Union816557
Washington8066138
Sandusky7790148
Athens773676
Knox7679141
Darke7618155
Seneca7306144
Ashland6917126
Auglaize678097
Shelby6493113
Brown633387
Crawford6245130
Defiance6162103
Mercer612893
Fulton599296
Highland596899
Madison592176
Guernsey583468
Logan582795
Clinton581191
Preble5692122
Putnam5301108
Williams526185
Perry516563
Champaign510372
Jackson506571
Ottawa484086
Coshocton478783
Morrow456656
Pike432763
Fayette427461
Hardin416678
Gallia416266
Adams415392
Van Wert369579
Henry362571
Holmes3619123
Hocking355579
Wyandot322261
Carroll300659
Paulding279147
Meigs263350
Monroe214854
Noble198946
Morgan193232
Harrison180143
Vinton165125
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 48°
Huntington
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 46°
Decatur
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 46°
Van Wert
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
It's a chilly end to the work week with highs struggling to warm into the middle 50s.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events