Last week, a jury acquitted Andrew Bloomberg, a former Houston police officer charged in the beating of 15-year-old Chad Holley in March 2010. Bloomberg is the first of four officers who will stand trial for the beating.
ColorOfChange ran a campaign demanding that U.S. Attorney General Holder investigate the brutal attack by Houston police officers, which was caught on film. As you see in the video, after the teenager (who was being pursued on suspicion of burglary) lay face down on the ground to surrender, officers dealt him a series of merciless kicks and punches to his head and torso.
Here's an excerpt from our original email, which sought to hold accountable the officers involved and the police department that allowed such misconduct:
[The Houston Police Department] has painted Holley's beating as an isolated incident of misconduct, but that's hard to believe if you watch the video of the incident. Officers attacked Holley simultaneously and without hesitation, as if this kind of violence is routine. There were no fewer than a dozen officers on the scene during the beating, yet HPD leaders didn't learn of the assault until the security video was mailed to the chief of police and District Attorney — all the officers on the scene were silent until then, willing participants in a cover-up.
This speaks to an important reality: Chad Holley's beating appears to be the product of a problematic culture within the Houston Police Department — one where officers don't fear punishment, and where they stick together to hide serious incidents of misconduct.
Members of the community who organized to bring the officers to justice were outraged by last week's verdict. Black folks make up nearly a quarter of Houston's population, but there wasn't a single African-American juror in the trial. The defense attempted to portray Holley, who maintains that he is not gang-affiliated, as a gang member.
This outcome is yet another reminder that the ColorOfChange community must stay vigilant and work to ensure that the criminal justice system serves Black Americans.