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Protester Who Fell From Overpass While Trying To Block Interstate Sues Police Over His Injuries

Tulsa, OK – A Black Lives Matter protester who was paralyzed after falling from an overpass while participating in a demonstration on Interstate 244 in 2020 is suing multiple law enforcement agencies over his injuries.

Thomas Knight, 34, named the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) and 15 of its officers, the City of Tulsa, an unidentified motorist, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin, and 15 unnamed Tulsa police officers the lawsuit he filed Feb. 14, KSBY reported.

Knight alleged they violated his civil rights and demonstrated “deliberate indifference,” resulting in his injuries, according to the lawsuit.

Knight said he attended the Black Lives Matter march with his family members on May 31, 2020, KSBY reported.

He and hundreds of other protesters gathered in the Greenwood District of Tulsa’s downtown area and proceeded to march down an access ramp and onto Interstate 244.

The mob blocked traffic on the roadway and surrounded vehicles, to include a truck driver pulling a large horse trailer, KSBY reported.

Witnesses said the truck driver brandished a weapon and attempted to get away by moving through the angry crowd.

Cell phone clips released by KSBY showed rioters violently beating on the truck and trailer and throwing objects at the vehicle.

Knight claimed in the lawsuit that cell phone footage also showed the truck driver running over demonstrators before they rushed away from the vehicle, causing the mob to swell “back towards the edges of the overpass, away from the travel lanes,” KOKI reported.

“As a result, Plaintiff was knocked off of the overpass and fell more than 20 feet to a city street below,” the lawsuit read.

The fall left Knight with multiple broken bones in his spine, resulting in him being paralyzed from his waist down, KOKI reported.

Knight alleged in the lawsuit that police allowed the truck driver hauling the horse trailer to pass through a barricade and through the group, which he claimed made them responsible for his fall from the overpass.

The driver has not been identified, KSBY reported.

Knight further alleged police were the ones who “funneled” the mob onto the access ramp.

He has asked the court to award him an unspecified amount in damages in excess of $75,000, Tulsa World reported.

“(Knight’s) injuries were eminently preventable and should never have happened,” the lawsuit declared, according to KSBY. “Had the Defendants taken even the most basic of precautions, Plaintiff (Knight) would not have lost the use of his legs and his suffering, and his family’s suffering, could have been spared.”

The OHP and the City of Tulsa refused to comment on the pending litigation, according to the news outlet.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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