Man paralyzed in Tulsa Black Lives Matter protest sues city, police department

TULSA, Okla. — A man who fell more than 20 feet off an overpass on I-244 during a Black Lives Matter rally is suing the Tulsa Police Department, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, along with other agencies for civil rights violations, according a recently filed lawsuit.

Thomas Knight, 34, was participating in a rally in May 2020 when the crowd marched onto I-244.

As the rally approached I-244, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was called out to stop the flow of traffic on I-244, to protect both demonstrators and passing cars, according to court documents.

Despite hundreds of demonstrators traveling onto the highway, OHP troopers allowed a Dodge pickup truck hauling a large horse trailer driven by an unidentified driver to pass through the barricade and to drive through the group, according to the lawsuit.

“While John Doe Driver was attempting to drive through the Rally, he brandished a gun to intimidate the Rallygoers,” the lawsuit states. “At that point, the crowd attempted to disperse for the truck and swelled back toward the edges of the overpass, away from the travel lanes. As a result, Plaintiff was knocked off of the overpass and fell more than 20 feet to a city street below.”

Knight sustained multiple broken bones in his spine, causing him to become paralyzed from the waist down.

Due to the negligence of the Tulsa police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and their employees, Knight was injured, the lawsuit says.

Knight is asking for $75,000 in damages.