HOUSTON — An odd standoff at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse ended when deputies arrested three protesters blocking the main door to the district attorney’s office.
DA Pat Lykos had agreed to meet with Quanell X and some African-American ministers, but another group of protesters showed up late and weren’t allowed in.
After the Quanell X group left the meeting and walked into the lobby, the second group of protesters blocked the open door and demanded to either meet with Lykos or to be arrested.
"And you tell us we have to get arrested here in Pat Lykos’ office," said Krystal Muhammad with the New Black Panther Party. "To get some justice we gotta get arrested right here? Y’all taking us for jokes."
The standoff continued for about three hours. A senior prosecutor invited them into his office, but they demanded a personal meeting with Lykos. They eventually lay down at the entrance.
Lykos dramatically walked into the lobby through another door and demanded the protesters leave or face arrest. After she made her statement, deputies took the protesters into custody on trespassing charges.
"That’s not right. No divided and conquer here today. Go ahead and arrest us, because this is not right," said Muhammad.
Lykos said the protesters were cursing at her employees and impeding their work.
"I expect people to treat the dedicated professionals in my office with respect," Lykos said in a statement. "I will not permit any group to occupy our office. I will not allow the administration of justice to be held hostage. I will not capitulate to threats."
The two groups of demonstrators denied there was a rift between them, but some of them clearly felt snubbed.
One of the protesters arrested was Kofi Taharka, the local leader of the National Black United Front.
Taharka organized a rally on the courthouse steps Thursday to protest the not guilty verdict of former Houston cop Andrew Blomberg. Blomberg was found not guilty in connection with the 2010 videotaped beating of a teenaged burglar.
The meeting involving the DA was tense, sources said. Her office later released a statement saying they "had an open and candid dialogue."
Blomberg was one of four officers charged in the videotaped beating of Holley, a burglar who was captured after running from police. The verdict by an all-white jury sparked outrage among many Houstonians.
Three other former HPD officers have been charged in the Holley case. Their trial dates have not been set.
All four officers have also been named in a civil lawsuit filed by Chad Holley.
Blomberg said Thursday he doesn't believe he did anything wrong.