65-Year-Old Army Vet Files Suit After Cops Allegedly Break His Neck, Leaving Him Paralyzed

A 65-year-old Army veteran filed a lawsuit after he claims he was paralyzed from being slammed on the ground by police officers when they used "pain compliance" techniques.

Gregory Gross filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Yuba City, California, and the police officers involved during the traffic stop which left him injured.

The lawsuit alleges that Officer Joshua Jackson was responsible for breaking his neck, leaving him paralyzed after he slammed him to the ground during a traffic stop. It also names fellow officers Scott Hansen and Nathan Livingston, and Yuba City. The lawsuit alleges Hansen assisted in Jackson's repeated use of force and that Livingston failed to intervene, according to the Associated Press.

Body camera footage showed Jackson twisting Gross's arms after he was already handcuffed and Gross can be heard saying "that hurts" and he repeatedly cried out "I can't feel my legs," according to the lawsuit.

Another officer responded, "it's called pain compliance."

Gross told officers that he couldn't feel his legs and that he was in pain, but they wouldn't listen. When he arrived at the hospital, he told the workers, but their response wasn't any better.

"Don't tell me again you can't move," a medical worker said.

Gross ultimately needed two surgeries to fuse his spine after the incident. He says he is no longer able to walk or take care of himself and will require help for the rest of his life because of the medical workers and police officers, according to a separate lawsuit.

Gross says he used to be active and enjoy swimming, cooking and walking his dog. Now, he spends all of his time in a hospital bed in his living room.

"I just pretty much lay in bed all day," he said. "I'm just existing right now, basically."

Gregory Gross Lawsuit Police
Gregory Gross lays in front of an enlargement of a video frame of his arrest by Yuba City, California, Police, during a news conference in Sacramento, California, January 5, 2022. Gross, 65, announced Wednesday that he has filed a lawsuit against Yuba City and the police officers involved in the injuries he says he suffered during his arrest on drunken driving and hit and run on April 12, 2020. Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

Though he can move his arms, he said he can't write or perform other activities because his fingers are contracted with paralysis.

Police video released by lawyers for Gross shows the incident and his arrival at a hospital, where Gross is handcuffed to a bed, his nose bloodied.

"You want to grab his arms and flop him up on the bed?" someone asks after Gross tells a medical worker that he can't feel his legs. They then do so while placing him in a sitting position without restraining his neck or spine.

He sued Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville, along with the University of California, Davis, Medical Center and individual medical workers, last August. The new lawsuit claims Yuba City Police Officer Jackson broke Gross' neck.

Jackson has not been employed by the Yuba City Police Department since February 2021, the department said Wednesday. Officials there could not immediately say if he had his own attorney.

The department and Yuba City said in a joint statement that they had not been served with the lawsuit and couldn't comment. Rideout hospital officials did not respond to telephone and emailed comment requests.

"It's about police brutality that destroyed his life," said Gross' attorney Moseley Collins. Along with obtaining enough money to pay for his lifelong care, Collins said, "Greg doesn't want this to happen to anyone else."

Gross, an Army veteran who lives in Yuba City, was accused of driving drunk and causing a slow-speed collision in April 2020. He faces a jury trial in March in Sutter County, north of Sacramento, on charges of misdemeanor DUI, hit-and-run and resisting arrest.

In the police body camera video supplied by Gross' lawyers, an officer identified as Jackson is seen twisting Gross' handcuffed arms and forcibly seating him on a lawn.

"You can start going with the program," the officer tells Gross as he protests that "I didn't do nothing" and "that hurts."

"It will continue to hurt if you don't shut up and listen," an officer tells Gross as he repeatedly and profanely insists he is in pain.

Timothy T. Williams Jr., a police tactics expert who spent nearly 30 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, said that based on the video, the officers seemed to overreact.

Pain compliance, such as using a wrist lock, is a common technique with someone who is resisting, he said. But in this case, Gross was already in handcuffs and being escorted to a patrol car.

"Apparently he just wasn't moving fast enough for them," Williams said.

"From what I observed, there was no need for pain compliance," he added. "There was no need to drive him to the ground."

He also questioned the officer twisting and suddenly raising Gross' handcuffed arms.

"That's something that during my time wasn't taught," said Williams, who served from 1974-2003. "If you don't know what you're doing you can remove it (his shoulder) from its socket."

Officers later restrained Gross facedown on the lawn outside the hospital.

"I can't breathe, I can't breathe," Gross says.

"You're talking. You can breathe," officers tell Gross as he moans and slurs his words, his nose now bloodied and a cut over his eyebrow.

"I can't feel my legs" Gross says repeatedly as he is placed in a wheelchair. "I can't feel my arms."

"Mr. Gross, we are done with your silly little games," an officer tells him.

Later, inside the hospital, Jackson tells Gross: "I only slammed you on the ground one time, sir, and it was very controlled."

Williams said officers seem to have acted improperly by ignoring Gross' repeated complaints about not feeling his limbs.

"You don't make that assumption. You're not a doctor, you don't know what the person is going through," Williams said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

gregory gross army police brutality
This image taken from police body camera video provided by the Yuba City Police Department shows Gregory Gross being wheeled into Rideout Memorial Hospital after his arrest for alleged drunk driving and hit and run in Yuba City, California, April 12, 2020. Gross, 65, alleges that he suffered a broken neck during the arrest and is now paralyzed and confined to his bed. He announced Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, that he has filed a lawsuit against the Yuba City Police Department and the police officers involved on January 5, 2021. Yuba City Police Department/Associated Press