Officer in Chad Holley beating goes on trial

April 23, 2012 3:16:07 PM PDT
It was the video that sparked outrage when we showed it to you the first time, and now the first of four Houston police officers accused of beating a teenager during an arrest is going on trial.

We first showed you that shocking surveillance video in February 2011. Since then, four officers have been charged with misdemeanors.

Jury selection began Monday for the first officer fighting the charge against him.

The charge is official oppression, which by law is a Class A misdemeanor. The defense wanted a change of venue, but the compromise was individual questioning for each potential juror.

Andrew Blomberg is the first of four officers indicted in the beating of then 15-year-old Chad Holley. He was a burglary suspect later found guilty, but that was lost in the video of his arrest, which was recorded on a storage warehouse security camera. Blomberg had put his foot on Holley's back before the teenaged suspect -- already lying on the ground -- was handcuffed. Other officers were recorded punching and kicking Holley.

"He was trying to get him to put his hands behind his back and he was resisting and he continued to resist even after Andrew ran off. He was there for less than four seconds," said Dick DeGuerin, Blomberg's attorney.

In the age of video, it is the image that is the accuser, and when it became public months after Holley's arrest, there was an outcry that continues today.

Holley was not present for jury selection, but the National Black United Front was.

"What would justice be? Them being charged with a felony, them being found guilty of a felony and serving time in prison, just like the thousands of young black men, Hispanic men and poor people do at this courthouse everyday," said Kofi Taharka with the National Black United Front.

The job in court is to find six jurors and two alternates -- people who haven't seen the video or who feel they can be fair.

Jury selection could last the rest of the week.

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