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Man paralyzed from fall at BLM rally sues city of Tulsa, Oklahoma Highway Patrol

blm rally i-244.jpg
Posted at 10:44 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 12:25:30-05

TULSA, Okla.  — The man paralyzed from a fall at a Tulsa Black Lives Matter rally in May 2020 is suing multiple agencies, including the city of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Thomas Knight became paralyzed from the waist down after falling from an I-244 bridge during the rally.

The suit was filed in federal court Monday. It said Knight attended the rally with his family.

The rally began in downtown Tulsa's Greenwood District. At one point, the crowd went up an I-244 access ramp and onto the highway, blocking traffic. One of the vehicles blocked was a truck pulling a horse trailer.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter rally blocks I-244, truck hits at least 3 people

The lawsuit said witnesses saw the driver of the truck brandish a weapon. Videos show people crowding the truck, the truck running over some people and the crowd dispersing.

According to the lawsuit, this is what led Knight to fall off the bridge. He fell 20 feet to the street below and broke bones in his spine. He’s now paralyzed from the waist down.

Knight is suing the city of Tulsa, OHP the driver of the truck, and others including Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin, 15 unnamed TPD officers and 15 unnamed OHP deputies.

The lawsuit claims “deliberate indifference” by TPD, OHP and their employees led to Knight becoming paralyzed. It said "His injuries were eminently preventable and should never have happened. 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."

It also said TPD officers funneled the crowd onto the I-244 access ramp. It claims Tulsa police failed to implement any policies and procedures to guide its officers on how to handle civil demonstrations.

As for OHP, the lawsuit said they did nothing to assist the truck driver through the crowd and failed to exercise care regarding the flow of traffic.

It also alleges negligence from the truck driver, who has not been identified.

READ MORE: Tulsa Co. DA: No charges filed for driver who drove through crowd on I-244

Knight is also suing John Scully, former Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, which oversees the OHP. The lawsuit also names Brent Suggs, former Chief of Patrol of the OHP.

Knight is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

We reached out to the city of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Both said they do not comment on pending litigation.


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