A mother filed suit against a Lakewood police officer who broke her 17-year-old daughter’s jaw in November as he wrestled the girl out of a branch of the Lakewood Public Library.
Sabrina Robinson alleged in the lawsuit that Lakewood officer Kevin Jones used excessive force and violated the teen’s civil rights when he grabbed her, shoved her into a book cart, put her in a full nelson headlock and kicked her out of the library’s Madison Branch, all without provocation.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, also alleges that the city of Lakewood failed to train its officers how to treat children with dignity and respect, and that Jones and other officers failed to provide medical care to the girl as she lay bleeding on the front steps of the library.
“As parents, we expect that our children will be safe at a public library and that library employees will protect them from violence, not attack them,” attorney Subodh Chandra, who filed the suit on behalf of the mother, said in a news release.
The encounter was captured by surveillance cameras inside the library and partially by Jones’ body camera.
Jones was moonlighting in uniform at the library, where the girl and her 11-year-old brother were regular visitors, the complaint says.
The girl was listening to music on her cellphone with her headphones and Jones told her to turn it down, the complaint says. She moved and sat with her brother in a seating area inside the library and started watching videos on a laptop, sharing a pair of headphones, the complaint says.
Jones approached them and told the girl to get her feet off a chair, the lawsuit says. The girl complied. The surveillance video showed Jones and the girl continued to trade words, until he walked back to her, stood over top of her and told the girl to leave the library, the lawsuit says. The girl stood up, and, when Jones didn’t move, she said, “excuse me,” the lawsuit says. Jones then grabbed her by the neck and shoved her toward the library’s front door, the suit says.
He shoved the girl into a rolling book cart next to the counter and she fell to the floor. Jones then put the girl in a full nelson, squeezing his arms around her armpits from behind forcing her arms into the air, the video showed.
He wrestled her out into the lobby and fell on top of the girl. She landed face-first with all of his weight on her, and the impact snapped her jaw, the lawsuit says.
He dragged her out to the front of the steps and waited for responding officers to arrive.
Blood dripped from her jaw onto the concrete steps, and Jones later used a bottle of water to rinse off the blood.
Jones and the other officers refused to call for an ambulance, the lawsuit says. Instead, they joked about clocking out early, and one officer told the girl to spit blood in the grass instead of on the concrete, the lawsuit says.
The girl was eventually taken to Cleveland Clinic, where doctors reset her jaw, the suit says.
Jones told Robinson that the girl was “mouthing off” to him, and refused to leave despite his orders, the suit says.
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