Two Houston police officers accused of using excessive force closer to standing trial

HOUSTON – A civil lawsuit accusing two Houston police officers of excessive force is one step closer to trial after a ruling from a federal judge.

Jose Gomez, 44, filed suit against the city of Houston and the officers in 2018 after he was arrested during a March 2017 traffic stop.

Police bodycam footage shows the encounter quickly escalating from the time one officer asks Gomez for his license, but he says he doesn’t have his wallet on him.

The officer then says “no license? Get out!”

The video shows Gomez getting out of his truck and the officer appears to begin to handcuff him. But seconds later, Gomez is on the ground screaming and officers are yelling “stop resisting.”

“I have a pain in my body, I really need surgeries on my shoulders, my back, my elbows,” Gomez said during a news conference Monday.

Gomez was arrested for resisting arrest, but the Harris County District Attorney’s Office later dropped that charge. Gomez filed a complaint with the HPD Internal Affairs Division, which later cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.

“The IAD department is not looking and not doing things correctly. They are protecting the city and the officers,” said attorney Randall Kallinen who represents Gomez.

The lawsuit has been making its way through the federal court system for nearly three years, but on Thursday, a judge made a key ruling moving the case forward.

In response to a motion for summary judgment from the city of Houston attorneys, Judge George Hanks Jr. ruled the Gomez’s claims of excessive force and assault and battery by HPD officers Jacob Simmerman and Christopher Heaven will be heard.

But the judge dismissed a third officer, Ron Kloeppel, from the lawsuit, along with Gomez’s claims of false arrest, illegal search and malicious prosecution.

Houston Police referred KPRC 2 to the city of Houston’s legal department when asked for a comment. A spokesperson for the city did not respond to our request for comment.

According to Kallinen, the trial is expected to begin in the next few months.

About the Author:

Emmy-winning journalist, native Houstonian, reader, dancer, yogi.