Two eighth-grade boys are suing the Waukegan, Ill., police department for brutality after one of the boys alleged that an officer beat him with a cell phone and broke his nose.
Jonathan Garcia, age 13, and his 14-year-old friend were questioned by police about a broken window. After a grueling three-hour interrogation at police headquarters, neither boy had admitted to the crime.
An officer tried to make Garcia sign a confession, but he refused to do so without first speaking with an attorney or his mother.
That’s when the officer hit him in the face with a cell phone and began choking him, according to a lawsuit in which the two boys are named as plaintiffs. Garcia left the police department with a broken nose and blood all over his shirt, according to WLS ABC7 in Chicago.
Garcia’s friend was also threatened and strip-searched. Neither boy was ever charged with breaking the window.
“If the police is doing this, who do I call if I’m in danger because they’re the ones doing the danger,” said Garcia in a statement during a press conference outside a city council meeting on Monday.
Community civil rights leaders stood with Garcia, as did his lawyer, Kevin O’Connor.
“We are on a pattern on abuse in the city of Waukegan, which has now led to our children,” O’Connor said in a statement.
The city attorney could not immediately be reached for comment, and has so far declined to make a statement to local media.