Vernon said then, "He did a crime. He did something wrong. I don't know what the officers did, but he did something wrong."
That was 10 months ago. Now after seeing the video obtained exclusively by Eyewitness News, Vernon, who did not want to talk on camera, had a change of heart and condemned the officers' actions.
She said, "Oh my. Oh my goodness. That's bad. All those officers against one boy? I know what that boy did was wrong but this is wrong. No one deserves that. That's really bad."
It's video the police chief and the mayor didn't want you to see. Thursday afternoon members of the NAACP called the video appalling. They are sending a copy to the US Attorney General and are urging the Department of Justice to launch an investigation. They believe the cops violated Holley's civil rights.
State Rep. Borris Miles said, "The real issue is, rogue cops abusing a young man in custody, in handcuffs. This is not an issue about what the mayor said or back and forth with Quanell X. This is an issue about HPD officers who are put to serve and protect us, have violated one of our young men. It could have been my 12-year-old son. It could have been your son, who was in handcuffs and beat brutally in excessive use of power. That's what this is about."
Community activists and leaders say they know this is not a reflection of the entire HPD police force. Still, they are moving forward with their plan to see that justice is done in this case.