I-Team: Alleged Case of Choking Uncovered at Family Court - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Alleged Case of Choking Uncovered at Family Court

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Crystal Williams demonstrates how she says she was choked. Crystal Williams demonstrates how she says she was choked.
Former Lt. Steve Rushfield Former Lt. Steve Rushfield
An example of a face mask. An example of a face mask.
A restraint chair similar to the one used at Family Court. A restraint chair similar to the one used at Family Court.

LAS VEGAS -- The I-Team recently exposed how a family court marshal was fired for a sexual assault at the courthouse. Now, the I-Team has uncovered another case of alleged abuse involving a woman who says she was choked by a court marshal.

The I-Team has been highlighting growing internal affairs investigations into abuses at family court.

In March, court marshals internal affairs investigators scrutinized a marshal for allegedly choking a woman in custody. The I-Team located that woman and she is now telling her story for the first time.

"You can't move, you can't do anything. They put a spit mask on my face," said a visibly upset Crystal Williams as she described what happened.

Williams, who was being detained on a traffic warrant because she drove without a driver's license, said a marshal told her to stop talking so loudly in the courtroom waiting area at the Clark County Family Court building. Williams said she was not resisting officers when marshals handcuffed her and put her into a restraint chair and put a spit guard on her face.

Williams is 25 years old and a lightweight at 110 pounds. What draws attention is, that even after Williams was immobilized, a marshal allegedly choked her.

Williams looks at a picture of the marshal, she claims abused her.

"That's the guy. I'm sad. I'm very sad. That's the second time I'm seeing him."

It's also the second time the I-Team is seeing the former Lt. Steve Rushfield. He was the Marshal's supervisor investigated by internal affairs for allegedly covering up claims that one of his marshals sexually assaulted Monica Contreras inside family court.  Rushfield resigned his supervisor's position after the story aired, but he is still working as a marshal.

Williams describes what she heard Rushfield say to her as he allegedly placed his hands on her neck.

"When he came in. He put it (she demonstrates how Rushfield put one of his hands around her neck) and said, 'You're in my house, you're in my house now.'"

Williams' choking claim is backed up by a witness -- another marshal who came forward to the I-Team after going to Metro Police. But after interviewing multiple marshals, and without any video evidence, Metro Police dropped the case. Court marshal's internal affairs kept its case open on Rushfield.

The I-Team asked the court administration what guidelines it has in using force. They say they have no guidelines when it comes to neck holds. The family court was borrowing the restraint chair from the juvenile court and have since returned it.

Williams bailed out after one day in jail for her traffic warrant. She feels former Lt. Rushfield led an out-of-control marshal's unit.

"I feel like he's been working there for a long time. He can do whatever he wants," Williams said.

The I-Team reached out to Clark County's chief judge and head of security to further explain these multiple incidents uncovered in recent months. Court administration referred to the incidents as a personnel matter and would make no comment.

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