On March 19th while skateboarding near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, police arrested 18-year-old Zachary Cruz, the brother of the Parkland school shooter, for trespassing. This allegedly sparked a series of events that resulted in a lawsuit that would eventually be filed by Cruz against many Broward County Officials, claiming that he was tortured and intimidated in jail, and that his rights were violated. The lawsuit was announced Thursday, two hours before Cruz Appeared in court after violating his probation.
Fox4 shows him handcuffed during his bail hearing:
According to the suit, although Cruz’s $25 bond was paid the night he was arrested for trespassing on March 19th, officers apparently refused to release him. The next day, during his bond hearing on March 20th, the Judge, Kim Theresa Mollica, reset his bond at $500,000, nearly 20,000 times more than a normal misdemeanor trespassing charge. He was also then ordered to have no contact with his brother, or any students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have his home searched and be subject to GPS tracking. That same day he was taken to Broward Health Medical Center for trespassing and ‘bizarre behavior.’
Apparently, For the next five days, Cruz would undergo mental health evaluations, but when it was found that there was no evidence of depression, suicidal behaviors, or homicidal behavior, he was released with no prescription for any medication. Afterward, Cruz was placed back into the care of the Broward County Main Jail where the lawsuit reports his ‘treatment became immediately harsher’:
“Cruz was placed in the Infirmary on 24 hour a day lock down, leaving his cell only for visits to his attorney or his daily nurse calls. Again, it is important to note that Cruz was held as a pretrial detainee on a misdemeanor trespassing charge and had been fully cooperative with law enforcement.”
It also states:
“Cruz was initially placed in a suicide vest, a heavy restraint vest that limited his movement, 24 hours a day. Upon information and belief, this vest was removed after Cruz agreed to accept the plea deal. He was placed under constant, bright lighting 24 hours a day. This lighting was not dimmed at night and severely interfered with Cruz’s ability to sleep, as did the suicide vest.”
The suit also goes onto describe how on Cruz’s daily visits to the nurse in jail, she continually harassed him asserting ‘you’re not ok,’ and after spending 120 hours locked in a cell under constant lighting and 240 total hours in confinement, Cruz then agreed to the plea deal offered by the state’s attorney. The deal requires Cruz to undergo more mental health evaluations, and have no contact with either his brother, or any students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool.