An Idaho police chief who allegedly broke the neck of one of his men while demonstrating during roll call how to subdue a suspect will not face charges.
Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee, who took over the department in 2020 after serving on the Portland, Oregon, force, allegedly put Sgt. Kirk Rush in an unorthodox hold that damaged his spine and required surgery. But Clearwater County Prosecutor Clayne Taylor determined there was not enough evidence to win a conviction for felony battery.
“This decision was not reached lightly nor without angst, as it truly is a close call,’ Tyler wrote in a letter to the Idaho State Police and Boise Mayor Lauren McLean which was obtained by the Idaho Statesman.
Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee might not have gotten charged in connection to an incident where he used a series of neck restraints on a Sgt, but it came close.
A letter from the Clearwater County Prosecutor details what when into his decision: https://t.co/JrD7C4xoey
— Margaret Carmel (@mlcarmel) September 2, 2022
Rush, who is suing Boise and the police department in civil court, claims Lee grabbed him by the neck without warning and struck him in the forehead, whipping his head back and breaking his neck in October 12, 2021.
In his letter, Tyler said that a medical examination of Rush did not prove that the force used by Lee could have caused the injury.
The letter also claims that Lee, while working in Portland, was involved in a violent incident with a co-worker, boasted about his prior use of force, and would often ask fellow officers if they were going to file workers’ compensation claims after participating in training sessions with him.
Neither Lee nor Boise Police spokesperson Haley Williams commented when reached by the Statesman. But Lee’s attorney, Chuck Peterson, has previously dismissed Rush’s claims.
According to Rush’s civil suit, filed in April, the incident occurred during morning roll call as he briefed officers before their tours. Rush claims he turned the briefing over to Lee, who called him back before the staff to demonstrate restraint techniques. Lee then allegedly grabbed him by the back of his neck, forced him to bend over, and walked him around the room while taunting him.
Lee released him, according to the suit, but immediately struck him in the forehead, causing Rush’s neck to hyperextend and producing an audible cracking sound. The lawsuit claims that Rush suffered multiple bulging disks in his neck and a “possible C5 anterior process avulsion fracture” which required surgery in January.
Rush is currently assigned to the Boise Police Department’s K9 unit, according to The Statesman.