Brother of Parkland shooter alleges 'intimidation and torture'

A Florida judge, a sheriff's captain and other officials conspired to keep the brother of mass killer Nikolas Cruz in jail, and engaged in a campaign of "intimidation and torture," a lawsuit claims.

"Fear" drove certain law enforcement officials to trample Zachary Cruz's constitutional rights because he is related to the teen who killed 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Florida and obtained by CNN.

Zachary Cruz was arrested for trespassing after he was found to be riding his skateboard on the Stoneman Douglas campus on March 19, two hours after school had been let out. Officials say he had been told to stay away from the school.

The lawsuit states that the 18-year-old Cruz was kept in jail after his arrest even though his $25 bail was posted. Judge Kim Theresa Mollica, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, then imposed a $500,000 bond for the misdemeanor charge "with no aggravating factors," according to the lawsuit.

Once the high bond was imposed, officials "engaged in a campaign of intimidation and torture," according to the legal rights group Nexus Derechos Humanos.

Broward County Sheriff's Captain Sherea Green, also named in the suit, "condoned and ordered" Zachary Cruz to be committed to a mental institution, "despite his medical records indicating otherwise."

Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz and Assistant State Attorney Sarahnell Murphy are also named in the suit.

Cruz had cooperated during the arrest, and "there is simply no indication of bizarre behavior," the lawsuit states.

"Essentially, because Cruz's brother committed a heinous act that only a severely mentally disturbed person could commit, these Defendants decided that Zachary Cruz must be just as mentally disturbed — despite all signs saying he is not," the lawsuit states. "Broward Health Medical Center agrees that Cruz does not pose a danger to himself or others."

RELATED: Florida high school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz

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Nikolas Cruz (C) appears via video monitor with Melisa McNeill (R), his public defender, at a bond court hearing after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Susan Stocker/Pool
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Prosecutor Shari Tate (L) attends the hearing for Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
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When Cruz was released back to Captain Green, he was immediately placed on suicide watch at the jail, placed in a weighted suicide vest, "then placed in a room with booming lights that shone 24 hours a day, for the entire five days he was there," according to the lawsuit.

The suit states that Green assigned a "one-on-one" deputy to intimidate Cruz around the clock.

Cruz also visited the jail nurse every day, and she kept telling him "you're not OK," according to the lawsuit. He allegedly spent 240 hours in confinement, 120 of them locked in a cell under constant lighting with little sleep.

"The 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 are procedures that amount to torture under the Geneva Convention, and are behaviors we do not permit soldiers to use in the battlefield," Nexus Derechos Humanos said in a statement.

To escape these conditions, Cruz took a plea deal that "literally" banned him from all school property in the country, the lawsuit alleges.

"Cruz did not present any danger and had no indications of any danger to the community other than his relationship with Nicholas Cruz," the lawsuit states.

Zachary Cruz was behind bars again this week for violating his probation following the trespassing arrest, but a judge ordered that he be released on Thursday.

Broward County Judge Melinda Brown urged Cruz to stay out of trouble because "they are watching you very closely."

"I want you to be successful," the judge said.

Zachary Cruz had been ordered to stay at least a mile from Stoneman Douglas and to not enter any other school unless enrolled. Prosecutor Sarahnell Murphy said at Thursday's hearing the school proximity violation was being dropped because he never set foot on campus.

"He basically drove by it," she said.

With News Wire Services

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