Activists arrested outside DA's office

May 18, 2012 5:46:10 PM PDT
Local activist groups angry about the not guilty verdict of a former Houston police officer had a private meeting with the Harris County District Attorney this morning, but not everyone was happy about that.

The district attorney agreed to meet with some community leaders after hundreds showed up Thursday afternoon protesting that verdict for Andrew Blomberg. Things took a dramatic turn when some of the rally's organizers weren't allowed in that meeting.

"Come on let's go to jail. Come on please let's go," deputies said.

They're calling this arrest an act of civil disobedience.

"We're not resisting arrest," a demonstrator said. "We are not resisting arrest! Ouch!"

Three community activists blocked District Attorney Pat Lykos's lobby for nearly four hours, hoping to make a point about the not guilty verdict a jury gave former HPD Officer Andrew Blomberg this week.

Community activist Krystal Muhammad said, "She can come out and let us in. They can come out and let us in."

The protesters were hoping to be part of a meeting between the DA and several ministers discussing the criminal justice process after outrage broke out over the verdict exonerating Blomberg in the videotaped kicking and beating of Chad Holley. Holley, who was 15 years old at the time, was arrested for a burglary he was later convicted of.

Demonstrators chanted, "No justice, no peace!" No Justice, no peace!"

But tensions in the lobby escalated when members of the National Black United Front, New Black Panther Party and Occupy Houston showed up a few minutes late and weren't allowed to participate in the last 45 minutes of that hour-long meeting.

As the group took positions on the lobby floor, the district attorney appeared from another door.

"I'm asking you to leave now," Lykos said. "If you are sincere, schedule the meeting. Please leave."

At the same time several deputies gave the three protesters three warnings to leave.

"We will not be intimidated," Lykos said. "We will not be harassed. And we will not permit you to obstruct our office."

As the group ignored those warnings, they were each arrested for criminal trespassing.

Those arrested community activists are facing misdemeanor charges.

Pat Lykos issued the following statement:

    "As District Attorney, it is my duty to pursue justice under the law. The people must have trust and confidence in the legal system. My record clearly reflects that I listen to the people and have made remarkable improvements to the criminal justice system.

    The ministers scheduled a meeting with me today. We met to discuss the law and the criminal justice process.

    Later this morning, a group obstructed the lobby of the District Attorney's Office. Profane language was directed against the employees of this office. They were disruptive and impeded our work.

    Should anyone wish to meet with me, there is an appropriate manner in which to schedule it. I expect people to treat the dedicated professionals in my office with respect.

    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.

    I swore to uphold the Constitution, the laws of the United States and of the sovereign state of Texas. I live by that vow. The DA's Office is both sword and shield to defend and protect the people of Harris County. Justice and order are inextricably intertwined."

Blomberg is one of four officers charged in the 2010 beating case of burglary suspect Chad Holley. Blomberg had been accused of official oppressio. The beating took place in March of 2010 after the then 15-year-old Holley broke into a home and ran from police.

Surveillance video shows what happened when police caught up with him.

Several officers were reprimanded for the incident. Four officers were fired and charged in the case. Blomberg was the first to go to trial.

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