Truck Driver Settles “Excessive Force” Suit With City Of Houston For $200,000
Houston, Texas – 36-year-old former truck driver Nicolas Watson has reached a settlement for $200,000 with the city of Houston in a lawsuit that rocked city police officials and many local community members.
In the lawsuit filed in Houston federal court in May of 2015, 36-year-old Nicolas Watson claimed he was stopped in his driveway by Houston Police Department (HPD) officers Felipe Gallegos Jr. and Ricardo Eduardo Perez. The police officers were responding to reports of a nearby robbery.
According to the suit, the police officers used “excessive force” during the stop. The officers jumped out of an unmarked car and drew their guns on Watson, as he was in his driveway returning home at 2 a.m. after finishing a haul working as a truck driver. Watson alleged one officer placed him in a chokehold and began “suffocating” him while another kicked him in the head, causing unconsciousness. The officers also allegedly searched him and his vehicle.
He was then handcuffed, placed into a marked HPD cruiser and taken a block away to the house that was allegedly burglarized, the lawsuit claims. He eventually was returned to his home. Watson says he filed a complaint with internal affairs, but “no officer received any discipline for (anything) related to excessive force or false arrest and wrongful detention.”
Watson had worked as a truck driver for 12 years, but could no longer do so because of injuries both physical and psychological the suit claims. The suit also alleged Watson suffered numerous serious injuries including eyeball hemorrhages, a concussion, headaches and muscle spasms which have disabled his ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely. He also says he now suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome.
The city of Houston asked a federal judge in June of 2015 to dismiss the case, but U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes refused to do so. The suit continued to be litigated until the two sides reached a settlement this week.
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