Tackled, punched, kicked and choked. That’s what a Houston man says happened to him at the hands of two police officers in 2013. On Thursday, 36-year-old Nicolas Watson stood in front of HPD headquarters with his attorneys demanding justice. Watson has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Houston and two HPD officers. His attorney’s claim it’s taken this long to file because they’ve been getting “stonewalled” by HPD.
Watson now walks with a cane and can’t stand for very long. “I'm trying to do my best because I'm in a lot of pain daily,” he said. He claims he still suffers lingering effects from the injuries he says he got from two Houston cops who gave him a beat down for no reason. “I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything aggressive. I had my hands up basically," said Watson.
The lawsuit alleges HPD officers Felipe Gallegos and Ricardo Perez drove up to his southeast Houston house, drew their guns, and then attacked. “Freeze, get your hands up. I was trying to explain I live at the residence before I knew it I was attacked,” said Watson.
Watson believes he was mistaken for a burglary suspect. "He didn't deserve any of this, and they let him go. He did not commit a crime, they didn't even have a description of whoever it was they were looking for. They just picked Mr. Watson," said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen.
Knocked unconscious, the police then allegedly drove Watson a block away to where that attempted burglary took place. Watson claims he now suffers from depression and anxiety. "I'm scared to come outside," he said.
The longtime truck driver says he can no longer work because of his injuries. He says he suffered a concussion, post traumatic headaches, bruising, back and knee issues and more. “I have no income, I have no way to pay my bills. I have no job anymore," he said.
Watson did file a complaint with the HPD Internal Affairs Division after the incident but says nothing ever happened. “The officers are hiding behind city. The city is hiding behind state law and at this point we're in fed court because we're asking federal government to step in and make change,” said attorney Jeralynn Manor.
A city of Houston spokesperson says the legal department hasn’t seen the lawsuit yet and even if they had, it’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.