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Lawsuit against UPD from former student runs into legal challenges

By Molly Waddell
On January 31, 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 faces an uphill battle after a series of legal snafus has threatened his day in court.

Aman Abdulazizs lawyer, N. Patrick Ngwolo, has filed a response to Sam Houston State Universitys motion to dismiss, but U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison struck it from the record because Ngwolo did not file a Motion Leave of Court, which was required because they missed a Jan. 9 deadline to file.

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. SHSUs lawyer Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas, said Abdulazizs motion should be dismissed because the plaintiff did not evidence that he was unfairly treated and that SHSU has immunity against the lawsuit. Abbott also claimed that the original complaint in the lawsuit was not clear on what the claim against SHSU was.

Abdulaziz had until Jan. 9 to reply to this motion but failed to do so. On Jan. 22 Ellison gave Abdulaziz until Jan. 26 to request a leave of Court so he would be allowed to file a response.

Abdulaziz filed a response to SHSUs motion to dismiss on Jan. 25. The response restated what Abdulaziz alleges that the university police department did to him. It also says that Abdulaziz will amend his complaint with new evidence that SHSUs motion to dismiss said he was lacking.

Abdulazizs response was stricken from the record on Tuesday by Ellison because Abdulaziz did not file a request leave of court.

Nygoyo did not return repeated calls for comment by press time, and Abott declined to comment.

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