Zachary Cruz, the brother of the mass shooter who killed 17 people at a Florida high school in February, has been subjected to harassment and torture in the wake of his trespassing arrest, his new attorneys claim.
Pro bono civil rights law firm Nexus Derechos Humanos is representing Cruz in his federal lawsuit, which will target Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, county prosecutors, and Broward County Judge Kim Theresa Mollica, according to a press release.
Cruz’s lawyers claim that—because he’s the brother of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz—he has suffered torturous “sleep deprivation tactics, including the use of intimidating and harassing behavior by guards, the use of a restraint vest 24 hours per day, and the use of 24-hour intense lighting” during his time in-and-out of jail over the past few months, according to a press release.
These “are behaviors we do not permit soldiers to use in the battlefield,” the statement added.
Nikolas Cruz has admitted to shooting students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year. The younger Cruz was initially arrested for trespassing on school property at the scene of the shooting in March, a charge for which he pleaded no contest. He allegedly violated probation earlier this week by driving an SUV within 25 feet of another campus in the area. He was also driving the vehicle without a valid driver’s license, according to a warrant.
He was re-arrested on Tuesday in Palm Beach County, and he reportedly remained in custody on Wednesday evening.
“I am concerned about BSO’s actions here,” Cruz’s former attorney Joseph Kimock told The Sun Sentinel. “They allege that Zach went within 25 feet of a school—but that wasn’t a condition we agreed to at his plea. We agreed that Zach could not go on school property, but there was nothing in his plea that said he couldn’t go near a school.”
None of the defendants targeted in the lawsuit, which was not yet filed as of Thursday morning, have responded to requests for comment by local media. Attorneys for Cruz told The Daily Beast they plan to discuss the lawsuit further at a 1:30 p.m. ET press conference at the Broward County Justice Center in Ft. Lauderdale.