Houston

Houston Woman Trampled By Mounted Police Officer During Summer Protests Sues HPD, City

The suit draws parallels between the actions of HPD during the protests and the actions of the police officers who killed George Floyd, saying HPD and the city demonstrated “the very same propensity for the use of unjustified violence.”

Still from the viral video showing Melissa Sanchez being trampled by a Houston police mounted patrol officer on May 29, 2020.

A viral video that appeared to show a woman being trampled by a Houston police mounted patrol officer during a Black Lives Matter protest drew public outrage last summer. Now the woman is suing the city and HPD for up to $1 million in damages, according to court documents.

In the personal injury lawsuit filed on Jan. 15, Melissa Sanchez accused HPD and the city of Houston of negligence, malicious or reckless conduct, and “failure to properly use HPD’s tangible property.” The lawsuit was first reported by the Houston Chronicle.

According to court documents, Sanchez joined protestors outside of 1300 Travis St. in downtown Houston on May 29 after the death of George Floyd. Floyd was killed four days prior when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The incident sparked national protests against police violence, with three days of protests taking place in Houston.

Sanchez’s petition to the court draws parallels between the actions of the Minneapolis police and Houston police during the protests, saying HPD and the city demonstrated “the very same propensity for the use of unjustified violence.”

“(Officers) took to the streets in droves, armed for war against peaceful U.S. civilians, and employed severe and unjustified excessive force,” the suit says.

In a now-viral video, an officer on a horse appears to plow into Sanchez from behind as she stands among other protesters. Sanchez is knocked to the ground as the horse steps over her, and attorneys say she was offered no assistance from HPD after the incident.

Sanchez suffered severe pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, and personal injuries due to the incident, according to court documents.

The suit does not identify the officer by name. Both HPD and Mayor Sylvester Turner declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.

"The legal challenge will run its course, and the city of Houston prefers not to discuss lawsuits in the media,” read an email from Mary Benton, spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office.

But immediatley after the incident occurred in May, Turner apologized to Sanchez via Twitter.

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