Choctaw, Cherokee man paralyzed in fall from bridge during Oklahoma protest
The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma man who was paralyzed from the waist down in a fall from a bridge when a truck drove through a crowd of protesters in Tulsa is improving, his brother said Wednesday.
Ryan Knight, 33, is hospitalized in stable condition and is regaining use of his hands and arms, but still cannot move his legs after suffering broken vertebra in his neck and back, and a fractured pelvis and shoulder blade, Randy Knight told The Associated Press.
Ryan Knight, who lives in Tulsa, fell at least 20 feet from an interstate overpass on May 31 as a truck pulling a horse trailer drove through the crowd protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, according to Randy Knight.
Randy Knight said his brother has regained some use of his arms and hands and doctors are hopeful there is no permanent spinal injury.
"The doctors think that when the swelling goes down it will relieve the pressure" in the spine and allow Ryan to regain use of his legs and fully recover, he said.
The driver of the truck was questioned but not arrested, as the investigation is weeks from being completed, said Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesperson Sarah Stewart. Stewart said no further information would be released at this time, including the driver's explanation as to why he drove through the crowd.
"Part of the investigation is whether (the fall) is related to that truck with the horse trailer that drove through that crowd. I do know that it happened right the same time, but we don't know that it was related yet," Stewart said.
The name of the truck's driver has not been released.
Randy Knight said there is no question in his mind that the truck moving through the crowd caused his brother to fall over the overpass railing.
"It's exactly from his mouth that the crowd swarmed when the truck pulled through," Knight said. "People rushing to the sides (of the interstate bridge) hundreds of people, and some young lady bumped into him and that's what pushed him over the side," Knight said.
Floyd died while handcuffed after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. His death set off protests around the U.S. and the globe.
Randy Knight said he and his brother are Choctaw and Cherokee and several members of their family joined the protesters because of past injustices to tribes by white people.
"The murder of George Floyd has ignited this newest round of protest, but we've been in that same vein for a while, the parallel history of Native Americans and blacks is not lost on us," Knight said.
Indian Country Today contributed to this report.