Rockford family files lawsuit, claims student suffers brain injury after thrown to ground by officer

Michelle Gallardo Image
Thursday, October 13, 2022
Rockford family files lawsuit after student suffers brain injury after thrown to ground by officer
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The family of a high school student is suing after security video shows a student being thrown to the floor by a police officer.

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WLS) -- The family of a high school student is suing the Rockford Police Department and Rockford Public Schools after a security video shows a student being thrown to the floor by a police officer.

It was September 21, 2021, at Auburn High School in Rockford, Illinois. That is when Stephene Moore says her son's life was forever changed when she says the then-14-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury at the hands of a school resource officer who was captured on surveillance video lifting and violently throwing Parris Moore against the floor after the teenager was found wandering the hallways, having walked out of his classroom following a disagreement with a teacher.

"He's a very smart, fun kid to be around but now it's like he just drifted away," Stephene said.

Stephene, with the help of her attorneys Wednesday, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Rockford Police Officer Bradley Lauer, the City of Rockford and the Rockford Public Schools Board of Education, among others.

"School officials and police treated a minor, nonviolent disciplinary issue as if it were a violent crime and used deadly and unreasonable force against a diminutive, 14-year-old student," she alleges in the lawsuit.

"He slams him headfirst. The brunt of the impact is to the left side of his head," said Al Hofeld Jr., the family's attorney. "Parris was knocked out cold when he hit the floor. He's unconscious and limp for several minutes is shown on the video."

The impact led to a four to six-inch vertical fracture of the teen's brain, according to the lawsuit, which was shown in scans released by his attorneys.

Moore's grandmother, who got the call to pick him up, said the school lied to her about what happened.

"I proceeded into the school and see my grandson suddenly right in the doors, handcuffed and in a wheelchair, shaking so bad he could barely move," said Parris' grandmother, Diane Moore. "They informed me that there was a little struggle with Parris and he slipped and fell."

The release of the video by Moore's attorneys has led to an outcry in Rockford's school community. A board meeting Tuesday night got heated as parents and school board members went back and forth about what happened.

"Did the staff who witness this make witness statements? Did those witness statements reflect what was on that video? What are you going to do to ensure this doesn't happen again," Mel Champion, a parent from Auburn High School, asked in a Youtube video meeting.

"I do wish people would keep in mind that when they are told things, or when they see a clip, a very short video clip, they have not been told, they may not have been told the whole story. They may not have all the information," said Tim Rollins, the board vice president for Rockford Public Schools 205.

A brief statement released by the Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools said,

"We are unable to comment on confidential student matters or any pending or ongoing legal matters."

However, they do acknowledge that Officer Bradley Lauer is no longer a school resource officer (SRO) within the school district. His status within the Rockford Police Department, however, is unclear. All calls about his status are being referred to the city's law department, which as of now has not responded to our requests for information.

"To me, he shouldn't even be in the police force. I mean, if he will do it to a kid, he will do it to anyone," Diane said.