The City of Houston is facing a civil rights lawsuit. Three families impacted by deadly police chases argue that Houston police have a pattern and practice of pursuing Black drivers through Black neighborhoods putting innocent civilians at risk.

The families’ attorney has compiled internal data from the Houston Police Department. An example from the East Side in 2020 showed what he said is a direct correlation between where these chases happened and Houston’s Black neighborhoods.

Reporters have not independently verified the numbers, but did cover the deadly chases in this case involving HPD, non-violent suspects, and the innocent bystanders who were killed.

The three families are dealing with the deaths of their loved ones who were all innocent bystanders or drivers in three separate deadly police chases. However, the cases are combining into one where attorney Mike Doyle of Doyle Dennis LLP is attempting to prove that the Houston Police Department engages in a pattern and practice that violates the constitution.

“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,” Doyle said. “For these families, that’s a huge part of it.”

The suit alleges that Black drivers are targeted more often than whites, and high-speed chases occur in Black neighborhoods more often than in other areas. Doyle said this puts people in Houston’s Black communities at risk.

“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,” Doyle said.

Doyle said he will use data from the Houston Police Department to argue the city is liable for these deaths in court. Reached by phone, City Attorney Arturo Michel questioned whether the deaths are similar enough to prove a pattern.

“The City of Houston has no evidence that any policies or procedures are unconstitutional,” Michel said. Both sides may have an opportunity to make their case before a judge as soon as next fall.

“It takes a long time and hard fighting to get to the bottom of it, but that’s what these families are ready for,” Doyle said.

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