Officer accused in teen beating ordered to be reinstated

HOUSTON There were seven officers indefinitely suspended following the incident. Under Houston's civil service rules, the officers can appeal their punishments and one of those officers recently won that appeal.

Officer Gaudencio Saucedo was one of the officers who responded to that March call where the alleged beating of teen burglary suspect /*Chad Holley*/ was caught on tape. Saucedo was not one of the four officers indicted on charges of official oppression and violation of civil rights of the teen, but he was one of seven fired by HPD - a decision he fought during a hearing in November where his attorney presented his side of the story.

"We're obviously thrilled to have a chance to put this before a neutral party, who can hear the evidence, decide for himself whether the officer took any unreasonable actions, and we'll take our chances," said attorney Aaron Suder.

The appeal paid off. The decision by an independent arbitrator December 22 said Saucedo should be reinstated for lost back pay, benefits and seniority, and receive only a written repremand for violating a policy because he did not report a patrol car hitting a fence.

The main charge involved Saucedo's kicking of Holley, where the officer said he was trying to get the suspect to spread his legs to take him into custody.

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland has said he fired Saucedo because he lost trust in him, adding he has "no place to assign an employee I've lost trust in."

Surveillance video of the incident has never been made public, but after watching the beating more than 20 times, the arbitrator took the officers side saying, "It is pointed out that under departmental policy that if a suspect is passively resisting, the officer is justified and trained to administer pain compliance techniques," and the officer "achieved his objective and used no more force on the suspect once this objective was accomplished."

The Houston Police Department issued a statement Tuesday evening saying, "The City Legal Department and HPD management is reviewing the arbitrator's decision and will reserve comment until the review is complete."

Of the 12 officers disciplined following the March incident, Saucedo is now the seventh to have his punishment reduced.

Stay with Eyewitness News and as we continue to follow the latest developments in the officer beating investigation.

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