A teenager testified Thursday that he was trying to surrender to Houston police officers when they repeatedly kicked and hit him, causing him to briefly lose consciousness, during his 2010 arrest on suspicion of burglary.
An attorney for Andrew Blomberg, one of the four since-fired officers accused of participating in the beating, countered his client was a “hero” who tried to secure a potentially dangerous suspect, and that he had not kicked the then-15-year-old boy.
Blomberg, 29, is the first of the four former police officers to stand trial in the arrest that was caught on video. He is charged with official oppression, a misdemeanor, and faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
Chad Holley, 18, was the first witness in Blomberg’s trial.
Holley testified that he and three friends stole a piano keyboard and some vodka from a townhome in southwest Houston in March 2010. Later that day, police stopped the youths’ truck and Holley ran. He said a police car knocked him over and as he lay on the ground he put his hands on his head to indicate surrender.
That was when “the kicks started coming,” Holley said.
“I started feeling people on my back. I felt one hard blow,” he said. “It felt like knees and I don’t know kicks … I lay there,” not fighting back. Holley said he briefly lost consciousness and the next thing he remembers is waking up in the back of a patrol vehicle.
Prosecutor Clint Greenwood told jurors the officers were out of control.
“The defendant and his fellow officers methodically delivered their own brand of justice not in this courtroom but in the side of a street in southwest Houston,” Greenwood said.
Holley’s arrest was captured by a security camera at a nearby storage business. In the video, Holley can be seen on the ground, surrounded by at least five officers. Officers appear to kick and hit his head, abdomen and legs.
The video, which showed two different angles, was played later Thursday for jurors when the then manager of the storage business, Savanna Stivender, testified. She said she cried when she first saw the video.
Jurors were shown photos of injuries Holley said he suffered, including a gash on the right side of his face and a bloodshot right eye.
A community activist, Quanell X, released the video to the media, prompting fierce public criticism of the police department. Leaders in Houston’s black community said they believed the treatment of Holley, who is black, was another example of police brutality against blacks and other minorities in the city and that the misdemeanor charges against the former officers were not serious enough.
Holley was convicted of burglary in juvenile court in October 2010. He was put on probation, which ended last month.
During a break in testimony, Quanell X told reporters he was upset no blacks or other minorities were on the jury.
Blomberg’s lead attorney, Dick DeGuerin, accused Holley of being a gang member and showed jurors photographs from the teenager’s Facebook page in which Holley was sometimes shirtless and referred to a group called the West Main Gs. Prosecutors said the photos were an attempt by defense attorneys to make Holley look “thuggish” to jurors. Holley said he was not in a gang and has not been in trouble with authorities since the burglary.
DeGuerin said Blomberg forcefully put his foot on the teen’s elbow in order to secure his hands, but that it wasn’t a kick. DeGuerin said Blomberg and other officers had been after a gang of possibly armed criminals who had been burglarizing homes during the day. Holley was not armed when he was arrested.
“Andrew Blomberg is a true hero who was trying his best to protect you,” DeGuerin said.
Testimony was to resume Friday.
A federal lawsuit Holley filed against Blomberg, the other fired officers and the city of Houston is pending.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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