HOUSTON The HPD chief says the first officer to face trial in the police-beating case of a 15-year-old burglar acted contrary to department policy, training and state law.
But the defense for former officer Andrew Blomberg put two of his fellow cops on the stand, trying to prove that the officers, in reasonable fear for their own safety, were merely trying to subdue a suspect who was resisting arrest.
Police Chief Charles McClelland Jr. was the last witness called by the prosecution Tuesday.
Defense witnesses included Gaudencio Saucedo, a member of the HPD Westside gang unit. He was in the passenger seat of the squad car that crashed into a fence as Chad Holley jumped over the hood. He is also the officer seen kicking Holley s feet to separate his legs and keep him from standing up in the surveillance video. He said Holley was resisting arrest and kept tucking one of his hands underneath his stomach, where officers feared he might have a gun.
But prosecutors replayed the surveillance video for the jury, showing that Holley initially placed his hands behind his head as officers approached.
Saucedo was originally one of the officers fired after the incident, but a grand jury refused to indict him. The Navy reservist, who just this week returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, got his job back through arbitration.
The defense is trying to prove that the officers, tracking suspects believed involved in a prior burglary where a gun was stolen, had a justified fear for their own safety and were merely trying to get Holley to comply with their orders, not beat and kick him without reason.
Also Tuesday, Houston optometrist Dr. Larry Cohen testified that the defense asked him to review the medical records of Chad Holley. He believes the red eye Holley shows in photos after his arrest was not the result of a beating but was caused by neisseria gonorrhea conjunctivitis, a sexually transmitted disease.
Cohen did not examine Holley but was asked by Dick DeGuerin, attorney for accused former officer Andrew Blomberg, to examine Holley s medical records.
Prosecutors challenged Cohen s status as an expert given that an optometrist is not a medical doctor and that Cohen admits he has been DeGuerin s friend, and optometrist, for the last 30 years.