The family of a special needs teen has filed a lawsuit against the town of Rotterdam, N.Y. in excess of $1 million. The town is being sued after members of the local police force broke 16-year-old Jacob Gocheski’s arm while trying to forcefully remove him from a school bus. A surveillance video captured the events leading up to and including the moment his arm was broken. [Warning: Extreme profanity, plus the sound of the bone snapping.]
According to the timesunion.com site, attorney Kevin Luibrand filed a notice of claim on Jan. 6 against the town on behalf of Gocheski and his parents, saying:
There was clear and obvious use of excessive force. They placed his arm in a position where they locked the arm and proceeded with significant force to break the arm between the shoulder blade and elbow, creating a displaced fracture.
An X-ray of the teen’s arm was released by Luibrand showing a “gruesome break and a shattered bone midway up the bicep.”
The family is seeking damages for the fractured humerus and possible nerve damage as well as pain and suffering. According to Luibrand the teen’s medications were in the process of being adjusted. The child was diagnosed with multiple emotional disorders, including Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and pervasive developmental disorder.
The event occurred on the morning of Oct. 9, 2013, in the driveway of the teen’s home. Rotterdam police were called after Gocheski allegedly threatened the bus driver. The driver wouldn’t transport the teen after the threat. Mohonasen transportation called the police when the teen refused to exit the bus.
The video is only coming to light now because of a news release on Jan. 31, Rotterdam Police Chief James Hamilton, in which the chief said a review determined that “officers followed department protocol and procedures.”
Police charged Gocheski, with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a misdemeanor. He appeared in Rotterdam Court on Nov. 18 on the charge, which is pending.
The video from the bus showed Sgt. Daniel Ryan and Officer Ronald Armstrong talking for nearly 15 minutes to Gocheski, who wore a camouflage hoodie and kept his head down as he sat alone in a bus seat. One of the officers can be heard saying to the teen:
I would much rather you walk out with me bud then we have to drag you out. I don’t wanna have to do that.
The other then says, “If we have to fight somebody may get hurt. This is gonna last a lot longer than it has to.” The teen doesn’t respond and there are several seconds of dialogue where the cops are trying to convince the teen to exit the bus peacefully. Several more seconds pass before one of the cops says:
Right now this is a little problem that can be dealt with, okay? We don’t want it to turn into a big problem because if one of us gets hurt you’ll be going to jail instead of the hospital.
Shortly after that the cops are seen forcefully removing Gocheski from the bus breaking his arm in the process.