Two officers added to lawsuit against police, City of Burkburnett

Two officers added to lawsuit against police, City of Burkburnett

WICHITA COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - We have learned two more Burkburnett Police Department officers have been added to a lawsuit against three officers and the City of Burkburnett.

The civil lawsuit stems from the suicide of 22-year-old Marcus Johnson in March 2016 in a holding cell of the Burkburnett Police Department.

Shelly Parham is suing the arresting officer, Daniel Elbaum, two of his superiors; Matthew C. McDonald and Zachary D. Leonard, the city.

She is seeking monetary reparations for her loss and suing for 'punitive damages.'

Court documents show Johnson was arrested for having a fake Texas identification card. Johnson told Officer Elbaum he was bipolar, suffered from depression and attempted to commit suicide three times. Parham said the last time Johnson attempted to commit suicide was three weeks prior to his arrest.

The Burkburnett Police Department conducted an internal investigation after the incident and suspended Officer Elbaum for one day. The results showed Officer Elbaum failed to monitor Johnson in accordance with Burkburnett PD operating guidelines.

We have learned McDonald was issued a Letter of Reprimand and Leonard was issued a Letter of Counseling and ordered to take additional training according to City Manager, Mike Whaley.

We're working to learn what disciplinary actions were given to McDonald and Leonard. Depositions for the federal civil lawsuit began on December 20, 2017.

Burkburnett City Manager Mike Whaley said the new holding cell inside the city's new Justice Center, that opens around July of next year, will have fail-safe upgrades to prevent suicide attempts such as breakaway plumbing and slick surfaces.

We will continue to follow this developing story.

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