City owes man nearly $900,000 after wrongly tackled by police

Austin Police Department Dash Camera Video of Pete Hernandez wrongly tackled by police (APD Photo)
Austin Police Department Dash Camera Video of Pete Hernandez wrongly tackled by police (APD Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The attorney of a man wrongly tackled by police says he’s going to the Austin City Council Thursday to address why the city has not paid his client the nearly $900,000 that was awarded to him.

In February, a federal jury awarded Pete Hernandez $877,000 in an excessive force lawsuit settlement after an APD officer tackled him to the ground in 2012. The officer thought he had stolen a car, but it turned out Hernandez was not the person they were looking for.

On June 7, 2012, Hernandez walked out of a South Austin Walmart with a bag of food in his hands. Seconds later, he was on the ground, face down, while Austin Police officers restrained him beside a black SUV which had been reported stolen by a couple in Houston.

Attorney Robert Ranco says Hernandez was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And was the wrong guy.

“He did not do anything more than walk past the vehicle that had been stolen,” said Ranco who is representing Hernandez in a lawsuit against APD and the officers involved. “He did not touch it, he did not move towards it, he just walked past it.”

The incident was captured on a patrol car dash camera. In the video, you can hear an officer radioing to other officers “grab that dude, grab that dude,” as Hernandez casually walks past the SUV.

KXAN has reached out to the city for comment on the status of the case on but has not received a response. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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