HOUSTON - As he testified last month at the first of potentially several trials of former Houston police officers accused of beating him during a 2010 burglary arrest, Chad Holley explained to jurors that his brush with the law was an aberration and that he was planning to go to college to get his life on track.
But less than two months after Holley finished probation for that burglary, he has been accused of committing another one. His latest arrest could be problematic not just for him but for prosecutors, who have indicted officers for their roles in the teen’s alleged beating, which was captured on videotape.
In the first trial, a jury acquitted former Houston police Officer Andrew Blomberg on a misdemeanor charge of official oppression, prompting black community leaders to criticize the verdict by an all-white jury as unjust and racist. Blomberg’s attorneys had said he never kicked Holley, who is black, but was only trying to secure a potentially armed suspect. Holley, who is now 18, testified he wasn’t resisting arrest.
In a statement, Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos declined to comment on how Holley’s new arrest might affect how prosecutors proceed, saying she doesn’t want publicity resulting in the pending trials being moved to another jurisdiction. But some legal analysts say while Holley’s new arrest doesn’t derail the criminal cases against the three other indicted former officers, it will make it harder for prosecutors to prevail.
The 2010 videotaped arrest of Holley, who was 15 at the time, prompted fierce public criticism of the Houston Police Department by community activists who called it an example of police brutality against minorities. Four officers, including Blomberg, were fired and later indicted on various misdemeanor charges. Holley was convicted of burglary in juvenile court in October 2010 and placed on probation, which ended in April.