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Judge allows former SHSU student's civil rights abuse case against UPD to continue

By Molly Waddell
On March 20, 2013

A former student who filed a lawsuit against Sam Houston State University and the University Police Department alleging civil rights abuses stemming from a forceful arrest had his day in court saved by a judge’s decision.


Aman Abdulaziz’s lawyer, N. Patrick Ngwolo, filed the proper documents explaining his previous late filing, and the court has accepted it on March 1 despite SHSU’s efforts to dismiss.


Ngwolo had failed to turn in the Motion Leave of Court by Jan. 25, but the court gave him another extension of Feb. 6 to do so.


Ngwolo then filed his Motion Leave of Court on Feb 6. saying that the reason for the late document was because Abdulaziz had not served all of the appropriate parties named in the lawsuit.


SHSU tried to get the court to strike Abdulaziz’s response from the record because Ngwolo was demonstrating “excusable neglect.”


U.S. Southern Disrict Judge Keith P. Ellison accepted Ngwolo’s Motion Leave of Court.


Abdulaziz alleges that he was beaten before being taken to the police headquarters, according to court documents. He said the police originally charged him with three crimes while at the scene of the incident; possession of marijuana, tampering with evidence and evading arrest. Abdulaziz was found not guilty of a fourth charge, assaulting a police officer, close to a year later.


After Abdulaziz filed the lawsuit against the university, SHSU filed a motion to dismiss on Dec. 19. SHSU’s lawyer, Michael J. Patterson, Assistant Attorney General of Texas, said Abdulaziz’s motion should be dismissed because the plaintiff did not provide evidence that he was unfairly treated and that SHSU has immunity against the lawsuit. Patterson also claimed that the original complaint in the lawsuit was not clear on what the claim against SHSU was.


Abdulaziz amended response to SHSU’s motion to dismiss listed all of the facts including that there is a dashboard video of what happened. He also said he is suing the City of Huntsville because they have been, “deliberately indifferent to the need for training.”


Abdulaziz’s reason for suing UPD and SHSU is because of their “need to train officers in the constitutional limitations on the use of deadly force.”


Ngwolo did not return repeated calls and emails for comment by press time, and Patterson declined to comment.

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