Man tackled in parking lot by officers speaks out, as city fights verdict

Four-years ago, Pete Hernandez was tackled by officers, in a Wal-Mart parking lot and, seriously hurt.

A federal jury ruled: Austin police are liable and, should pay Hernandez $877,000. His attorney says the city is fighting the decision.

The man seen in the white shirt, falling to the ground on this video is Pete Hernandez. Austin police officers mistook him for a car thief in a South Austin Wal-Mart parking lot and tackled him.

“If I had a wish, I wish it had never happened to me because my life is not the same anymore,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez suffered a spinal injury that required surgery.

“You could feel the knees on my back,” Hernandez said.
A federal jury ruled in his favor. The police department owes him $877,000. According to court records, they are fighting the verdict.

“We asked for the court to approve the verdict rendered by the jury, the city filed a motion to either overturn or reduce the verdict,” Robert Ranco, Hernandez’s attorney said.

The city has every right to do this. But it has left Hernandez even more frustrated.

“It seems like they don't care about what happened. I haven't heard anything,” he said.

Hernandez says his life is forever changed.

“I can't pick up anything over 30 lbs. I can't work right now. I lost my job recently,” he said.

The defendants were Jesus Sanchez, John Sikoski, and Robert Escamilla. The jury placed most of the blame on Sanchez, who is still with the police force.

“A unanimous federal jury determined he was entitled to a certain amount of money, but nobody at the city is owning this,” Ranco said.

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