Lawsuit alleges Waukegan police broke young teen's nose

December 16, 2013 (WAUKEGAN, Ill.)

The two plaintiffs, ages 13 and 14, say they asked for their parents but were ignored. One boy says when he refused to confess to a crime, he was beaten with a cell phone.

Jonathan Garcia says he was left battered and bleeding following a three-hour interrogation.

"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.

On Monday night, the 13-year-old appeared at the Waukegan city council meeting.

According to the lawsuit, it happened November 25 as Garcia and a 14-year-old friend were questioned by two detectives about a broken window at a home.

The eighth-grader says when he refused to sign confession paper, he was hit with a cell phone.

"He hit me with his phone. He choked me. Grab me from my neck," said Garcia.

Garcia says he was left with a fractured nose and says his friend was also threatened and later strip-searched.

The lawsuit says neither teen was charged.

"I just feel that we need to do something about this because it's unacceptable," said Laura Arce, plaintiff's sister.

Garcia's attorney is also representing plaintiffs in a separate abuse lawsuit against neighboring North Chicago police, and on Monday night he alleged a county-wide problem.

"You've got a pattern of officers jumping around in Lake County to these various departments where you have the same officers repeatedly abusing people in different departments because there's no real action being taken," said Kevin O'Connor, plaintiff's attorney.

Garcia says he's never before been in trouble with the law. Spokespersons for Waukegan Police and the city declined to comment, saying they're still reviewing the complaint.

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