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Man arrested the night his daughter committed suicide sues City - KOAM TV 7

Man arrested the night his daughter committed suicide sues City of Joplin and Joplin Police

Updated:
Updated April 18, 2014:  In March 2013, 16-year-old Brooke Russell committed suicide by shooting herself in Joplin's Roanoke Park.   Before the teenager died, Russell's father and brother, who found the wounded teen in the park, were arrested for assault, accused of assaulting emergency workers sent to save his daughter's life.

This past January those charges were dropped against Kevin Russell and his son.

Now, the Russell family is suing the Joplin Police Department, the City of Joplin as well as two officers involved.

The counts:
  1. Malicious prosecution and false arrest - Kevin Russell vs the City of Joplin, the Joplin Police Department, Tyler Christensen and Austin Wolf
  2. For policies, practices and procedures allowing employees to violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights - Kevin Russell vs the City of Joplin and the Joplin Police Department
  3. Excess force - Kevin Russell vs Christensen and Wolf
  4. Negligent supervision - Kevin Russell vs the City of Joplin and the Joplin Police Department
  5. Negligent training - Kevin Russell vs the City of Joplin and the Joplin Police Department
  6. Negligence - Kevin Russell vs the City of Joplin, the Joplin Police Department, Christensen and Wolf
  7. Battery - Kevin Russell vs the City of Joplin, Joplin Police Department, Christensen and Wolf
  8. Malicious prosecution and false arrest - Brant Russell vs the City of Joplin, Police Department, Christensen and Wolf
  9. For policies, practices and procedures allowing employees to violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights - Brant Russell vs the City of Joplin and the Joplin Police Department
  10. Excessive force - Brant Russell vs Christensen and Wolf
  11. Negligent supervision - Brant Russell vs the City of Joplin and the Joplin Police Department
  12. Negligent training - Brant Russell vs the City of Joplin and the Joplin Police Department
  13. Negligence - Brant Russell vs the City of Joplin, Joplin Police Department, Christensen and Wolf
  14. Battery - Brant Russell vs the City of Joplin, Joplin Police Department, Christensen and Wolf
  15. Tortious interference with perspective business relationship - Brant Russell vs City of Joplin and the Joplin Police Department
  16. Loss of consortium - Julissa Russell vs the City of Joplin, Joplin Police Department, Christensen and Wolf
Kevin Russell says the family has been advised by their attorney not to speak to the media at this time.  We are waiting to hear back from their attorney.

Also, the Joplin Police Department says due to the pending court proceedings they are unable to speak to the media as well.


Updated January 14, 2014:
Charges have been dropped against a Joplin man who faced allegations of assaulting emergency workers who were sent to save his daughter's life.

Last March, 16-year-old Brooke Russell committed suicide by shooting herself in Joplin's Roanoke Park. But before the teenager died, Russell's father and brother, who found the wounded teen in the park, were arrested for assault.

The charges were filed against Russell's father, Kevin, and her brother, Brant. Kevin says when an ambulance crew arrived to take Brooke, he was frantic, trying to hurry emergency workers to take Brooke to the hospital. Kevin says Brooke's body fell off the gurney, and he started screaming.

Kevin says neither he nor his son ever hit any emergency worker. But both were arrested for assault, obstruction, and peace disturbance. The charges were filed after being pepper sprayed by police.

A special prosecutor from Lamar, Missouri was hired by the city. But now, all the charges have been dropped. According to Kevin's attorney, the prosecutor did not offer any reason why the charges were dropped.

"That's one of the reasons you have a special prosecutor," says attorney Bill Fleischaker. "He exercises his independent judgement, he's not responsible to anybody, and he does objectively what is right. And he's not required to explain his decision."

"In this particular instance, I think any touching that may have taken place was incidental to the events going on at the time. I can't think of a more agonizing situation," says Fleischaker.

We left voice mails for both Kevin Russell and the special prosecutor in Lamar. Neither one returned our calls.

We also filed a request for police records from this case. That request is still being processed.

Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts did not want to comment on the charges being dropped, despite telling us last September that he could not comment on the case at the time because no decision had been made in the matter. Chief Roberts said at the time that any comment he would make could prejudice the case.

Click here to view the initial reported story on this case.




Reported September 25, 2013: Kevin Russell still wells up with tears talking about the night his daughter committed suicide. She died at the hospital while he sat in jail.

16 year old Brooke Russell  shot herself in Roanoke Park. She called 911 as did her mother who found her and her father when he arrived. 

But Kevin Russell says, "she was warm, and I looked at her  eyes, the  pupils were  not dilated so I felt the best thing to do would be was to get her to the hospital as soon as possible, not waste anytime. 

The family took Brooke from Roanoke Park to meet an ambulance at the police station. 

Brooke's brother Brant says, "Once I put her on the gurney I felt  100 times better than at the park or when we were carrying her to the ambulance,  I was ready to see them star working on her." 

His father Kevin was frantic and says he was screaming, "let's go  hurry up get her to the hospital, get her to freeman."  They contend the ambulance crew told Kevin to calm down but when they turned to ask what was wrong with Brooke, she fell off the gurney. 

Kevin admits to more screaming but he is charged with assault and says ambulance reports claimed he pushed the paramedic, something he denies, "Why would I hit somebody trying to save my daughters life. They're completely unfounded." 

Brant says an officer came up and pepper sprayed him, while Kevin was told to calm down and was sprayed as well.

KOAM could not get a copy of the full  police report from that night of March 17th,  just a short narrative that police were called to the park for a juvenile with a self inflicted gun shot wound.
Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts told KOAM, "I cannot comment on the case since it has not been adjudicated.  We understand the family is grieving.  But any comment I make could prejudice the case."

Kevin and Brant Russell each face charges of disturbing the peace, obstruction and assault.


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