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Outrage: Houston Cop Acquitted in Beating of Teen Suspect Caught on Tape

The acquittal of former Houston police officer Andrew Blomberg in the alleged beating of a 15-year-old burglary suspect has shocked Houston’s black community. The incident, captured on a security camera in March 2010, showed Blomberg and three other officers striking a downed Chad Holley during an arrest in broad daylight. All four officers were indicted on charges of official oppression.

Blomberg, 29, was the first of the officers to stand trial. Black community members in Houston originally contested the official oppression charge, believing that the officers should be charged for assault based on the video tape released. Official oppression is a misdemeanor charge, carrying a maximum sentence of a year in prison. Upon the not guilty verdict, Blomberg cried while embracing his parents.

“This is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my entire life,” Blomberg said, referring to being a police officer. “And I’m just glad this part is finally over.”

Reactions across the city were the opposite, as the mayor, district attorney and community members expressed their disagreement with the verdict. “This kind of expression says to me, to my children and to every black child in the city, `Your life is not worth manure.'” the Rev. James Dixon of the Community of Faith Church said of the verdict.

Prosecutors showed the security footage of the arrest to an all-white jury, suggesting that Blomberg had kicked and stomped Holly while he lay prone. Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland Jr. testified to confirm the prosecution’s account of the incident. The defense maintained that Blomberg had not kicked the suspect, but instead used his foot to move Holly’s arm after he did not comply with an order to put his hands behind his back.

A community activist going by the name of Quannell X was responsible for the tapes’ public release months before the trial, despite a court order of suppression. He challenged the verdict, blaming the lack of minorities on the six-person jury. “They knew what they were doing with an all-white jury,” he added.

The other three officers in the case are still awaiting trial. Two of them will face an additional misdemeanor charge of violating the civil rights of a prisoner. “They will never again be Houston police officers whatever the verdict is in the criminal trial,”  Houston Mayor Annise Parker said of the officers.






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