Three families in Houston are suing the city over deadly police chases that occurred in Black neighborhoods, according to ABC13 News.
The civil lawsuit contends that the Houston Police Department had a pattern of pursuing Black motorists in Black neighborhoods, thereby putting the lives of civilians in Black communities at risk. Mike Doyle, the attorney for all three families, said he has compiled data from the Houston Police Department showing a pattern where deadly chases involving non-violent suspects resulted in the deaths of innocent bystanders.
The families suing the City of Houston were involved in three different incidents where innocent drivers or bystanders were killed as a result of police chases. Doyle plans to prove that the Houston Police Department’s practices violate the constitution.
“As high-speed chases have increased in the last decade, HPD continues to train, supervise, and discipline its officers consistent with a pattern of approving racially motivated, dangerous high-speed pursuits,” said Doyle in a press release. “By example, as part of its training to evaluate when to initiate a high-speed chase, HPD teaches its officers to evaluate the ‘social image’ of the chase, weigh ‘urban factors,’ and evaluate this with their ‘stresses, attitudes, emotions, prejudices, [and] bias.’”
“For these families, they’re never getting their loved one back.”
“What this includes, and really any civil rights case includes, is a hope that decision-makers don’t just see this going on and bless it and let it keep going on, but actually take steps to stop the conduct and behavior. For these families, that’s a huge part of it.”
The lawsuit also contends that HPD officers target Black drivers more than white drivers, causing more high-speed chases in Black communities.
“Innocent citizens are getting killed and injured again and again, because there’s police chases that shouldn’t be happening that keep happening, and they’re continuously approved instead of stopped,” he said.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the families of Michael Wayne Jackson, Carl Lee Wiley Jr., and Rashad Henderson. Jackson was killed on Dec. 4, 2021 as he walked on the sidewalk. He was on his way to get a haircut when an HPD vehicle hit and killed him during a high-speed chase of suspected car thieves.
“Put simply, HPD has an unwritten but very real and deadly policy, practice and custom of targeting Black neighborhoods and Black drivers with the risk of high-speed pursuit tactics,” wrote Doyle. “This led to the tragic, unnecessary deaths of Mr. Jackson, Mr. Wiley and Mr. Henderson, and the suffering of their families, among others.”