Woman Files Lawsuit Against Houston After Being Trampled by Mountie
A Houston woman has filed a lawsuit against the City of Houston after she was trampled by a mounted police officer at a Black Lives Matter demonstration. The incident was caught on video and you can see Melissa Sanchez underneath the feet of a large horse with a cop on the back of it. Sanchez is still receiving treatment for injuries that were sustained that day.
Her lawsuit alleges that negligent operation of the horse led to her injuries. The incident occurred only four days after video surfaced of police officer Daniel Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died.
Elements of Negligence
The negligent operation of a horse isn’t much different than the negligent operation of any vehicle. The individual who is in control of the horse is expected to ensure that they do not injure others with the horse.
The video appears to show Sanchez walking in one direction. The officer on the horse came up behind her and plowed directly through her. The incident was caught on video and broadcast over social media sparking outrage in the Houston community.
One element of the lawsuit is that the officer never made his presence known to Sanchez. He never asked her to move, yelled that he was coming, or otherwise gave her the opportunity to prevent the harm that came to her. Further, Sanchez posed no threat to anyone in the group or any of the police officers before she was trampled. And lastly, no officer at the scene of the protest who witnessed Sanchez being trampled ever offered to render assistance.
The lawsuit characterizes the police officer’s actions as “reckless”. The lawsuit claims that Sanchez suffered severe pain and emotional anguish from the extensive injuries that she received.
Others, however, believe that Sanchez was targeted by the mounted police officer over frustrations related to the protest itself. Indeed, many police officers sided with Chauvin and were unhappy that they had to work a protest in which protesters believed they were the bad guys. At one point, the frustration mounted and an officer atop a horse decided to take it out on the closest protester. That turned out to be Sanchez.
At this point, it is not Sanchez or her legal team making the above argument. It’s fellow protesters who witnessed the incident.
Ben Crump, famed civil rights attorney, called the incident “outrageous” and pointed out that Sanchez could have easily been killed underfoot.
It would be better for the plaintiffs if they could make the case that the officer’s actions were intentional. The State of Texas makes it very difficult for citizens to file lawsuits against government employees for simply being negligent. Actions alleging intentional malice are another story altogether.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured due to the recklessness, carelessness, or malice of another individual, you can sue to recover damages. The Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers can help you file suit and hold the negligent party accountable for your injuries.