A federal judge has found former HPD officer Jacob Simmerman and Christopher Heaven, who is currently an HPD officer, responsible for excessive force and assault.
This stems from a controversial traffic stop in March 2017 in which Jose Gomez, now 44, was arrested for an offense.
Simmerman and Heaven were ordered to pay over $ 550,000 for assault and over $ 550,000 for excessive force in damages, totaling over $ 1 million in total.
Body camera video provided by Gomez’s lawyer shows Gomez being arrested as an officer stands by his car window.
In the video, one of the officers said, “You said you didn’t have your wallet. Come out, turn around and put your hands behind your back.”
The video is dark and it’s hard to tell what happens next. Then you see Gomez handcuffed and hear an officer shout, “Stop resisting! Gomez responds in the video by saying, “I didn’t do anything.”
Gomez was arrested for resisting arrest, but the charge was later dropped.
READ MORE: Man accused of resisting arrest is now suing police and city of Houston for excessive force
“I asked myself, ‘How come they don’t listen to what I’m saying? “Like, don’t break my arm,” Gomez said shortly after the video was released. “I have to work tomorrow. This is my wallet. Why are they doing this to me? They don’t listen. They just take me to jail. From prison, they take me to the hospital. “
According to Gomez’s lawyer, he suffered torn ligaments, injured discs in his back, bruised face and an injured elbow.
The two agents were cleared by an internal HPD investigation.
“[Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner] and [HPD Chief Troy Finner] need to end this excessive use of force within the Houston Police Department and internal affairs seal of approval, ”said civil rights lawyer Randall Kallinen. declined to publish for public review. Houston needs a neutral third party to look into these shootings and the excessive use of force. “
Houston police did not respond.
Gomez and his lawyers are scheduled to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. on Wednesday about the ruling. ABC13 will broadcast the event live in the video player above.
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