HOUSTON - A Harris County man brought a lawsuit against the city of Pasadena in light of an incident in July 2011 in which one of its police officers allegedly shot him.
In court papers filed July 22 in Harris County District Court and removed Aug. 20 to Houston federal court, Antonio Hernandez accuses Officer Michael T. Martin of firing a 9mm semi-automatic gun at him during a stop in the southern part of the city the morning of July 22, 2011.
Martin joins his employer as a co-defendant.
Hernandez had left a nightclub near the intersection of Shaver Street and Spencer Highway prior to the events that are now the subject of the litigation.
Shortly afterwards, Martin pulled the plaintiff over along Spencer "ostensibly for spinning his tires while leaving the parking lot."
Hernandez did not initially stop as he drove to a lighted area at a Texaco station close to the intersection of Spencer and Westside Drive, the suit says.
It further explains Martin attempted to approach Hernandez's vehicle when it - despite being in neutral - "began to roll backward toward" that of the officer's, adding the plaintiff stopped the vehicle and tried to get it back to his initial stopping point.
According to the original petition, the officer supposedly motioned Hernandez to pull the aforementioned vehicle forward only to draw his firearm on the latter.
Martin's purported act evoked fear in the complainant, who subsequently "panicked and stepped on his accelerator pedal."
"Officer Martin fired a shot, which caused a bullet to enter Mr. Hernandez's left cheek at his upper jaw and exit his right cheek just below the level of his eye," the suit states.
An apparent chase then ensued and ended "sometime later" on Burke Road near Red Bluff Road.
The plaintiff insists he "was fleeing for his life and was seeking a lighted area with witnesses in which to stop his vehicle."
The suit asserts "this incident was not the first shooting incident involving Officer Martin while employed at the Pasadena Police Department."
Hernandez's ordeal reportedly and "at least partially" resulted in Martin's suspension from duty, it says.
Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages.
He is represented by attorney Patrick D. Hagerty of Pasadena.
Case No. 4:13-CV-2440