Family sues Spokane County for treatment of 15-year-old son during arrest

SPOKANE, Wash. — The family of a 15-year-old boy is suing Spokane County for the way their son was treated while in juvenile detention; he was arrested for underage drinking and ended up in the hospital with a broken leg.

The family wants to know why a minor offense like that ended in a trip to the hospital.

“It’s obviously a shocking result,” Family attorney Chad Freebourn said. “I think any parent would feel the same way.”

Freebourn said the 15-year-old was waiting for his parents to show up before answering any questions. Court documents show the detention center staff continued to ask him questions and planned to put him in a holding cell since he wouldn’t cooperate.

“Three different juvenile detention staff take him down, and it results in his leg being severely and grossly broken,” Freebourn said.

The staff said he resisted, and they used a tactical move to bring him to the ground. That move is supposed to keep the suspect’s upper body straight as they go down.

But, court documents show they all ended up on the floor and that’s when the boy’s leg snapped.

“This is an individual that weighs all of 120 pounds,” Freebourn said.

Reports from the detention center staff contradict each other, and it’s not clear how his leg actually broke. Those reports also show the boy was handcuffed as he went to the ground, not allowing him to break his fall.

The family requested video of the incident, and found out that while there are cameras in the juvenile detention center, they do not record.

“As a taxpayer, if somebody is going to allege something happened against the government, you certainly would want to show exactly what happened,” Freebourn said.

The teenager ended up being released to his mother at Sacred Heart Hospital.

Now, the family is suing because the boy’s leg hasn’t healed properly, and they want the county to take responsibility for that, while also paying for their medical bills. The lawsuit is for $1.5 million dollars, as they accuse the county of violating his rights and using excessive force.

“He has to have his leg re-broken, reset, and kind of start this whole process over again,” Freebourn said. “Obviously, this is something that’s going to affect him the rest of his life.”

4 News Now reached out to Spokane County for comment, but they do not have one at this time since it’s an ongoing case. We are also still waiting for more details surrounding his arrest.