HOUSTON -- A jury of a half dozen citizens now must decide the fate of the first fired Houston police officer charged in the videotaped beating of a teenaged burglar named Chad Holley.
The case went to jurors shortly after noon Tuesday following two hours of closing arguments in the case of Andrew Blomberg, one of a crowd of police officers involved in the arrest.
Before closing arguments began, another drama played out in the courtroom when a bailiff announced that a police captain had telephoned and ordered all uniformed HPD officers to leave the courtroom. DeGuerin loudly objected, arguing the order was illegal, but officers shuffled out of court.
Moments later, the head of the police union got into a shouting match with activist Quanell X in the hallway. The activist was angry that the cops were supporting Blomberg, who he referred to as "a criminal." He was also mad that so many officers were inside the courtroom that there was no seating left for anti-HPD activists.
The officers returned to the courtroom a short time later.
Now the judge is trying to figure out who made the phone call telling them to leave, and whether it was a hoax or a misunderstanding.