KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) The City of Killeen and two of its police officers are named in a federal lawsuit alleging excessive force was used in removing a gay high school student from a school bus following a fight.
The suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Waco by attorney Robert Ranco on behalf of the 15-year-old student, identified in the filing only as “J.W.,” stems from an incident on April 21 when a fight broke out between J.W. and a second student, identified as “Travis,” who “was harassing J.W., in part, at least, because J.W. is gay.”
A city spokeswoman declined to comment on the suit, saying, "The City of Killeen does not comment on contemplated or ongoing litigation."
The surveillance camera aboard the bus recorded the confrontation.
“Travis picked a fight and physically assaulted J.W. in the back of the bus. J.W. attempted to defend himself. The bus driver pulled the bus over and called the police. The driver then separated the boys, bringing J.W. to the front, and leaving Travis in the back of the bus. The fight stopped,” the suit says.
At least four officers responded to the report of the fight, but only two of them remained at the scene, the suit says.
As the two entered the bus, the driver told them Travis had started the fight and asked them to remove him, the suit says.
Travis responded by accusing J.W. of starting the fight and J.W. yelled that he didn’t start anything, the suit says.
The two officers removed J.W. from the bus, circled him and then picked him up and body-slammed him against the pavement, the suit says.
The suit disputes a police account of the incident that says J.W. resisted the officers.
“Despite what the officers wrote in the police report, J.W. was not resisting, was not attempting to get away, and was not a threat to the officers or anyone else at the time J.W. was lifted off the ground and body slammed on the hard pavement. He did not threaten the officers or anyone else. J.W. was never given a chance to comply with any order, as no order or instruction was given,” the suit says.
J.W. sustained a mild concussion, Ranco said.
The suit seeks medical expenses and unspecified damages for pain, suffering and mental anguish.