Since the video first aired Wednesday night around 7pm here on abc13.com, its been looked at hundreds of thousands of times. Not a surprise the debate raged on.
The images were clear and graphic -- Houston police kicking, punching, and stomping teenage burglary suspect Chad Holley who had run, but was now clearly trying to surrender. That video obtained by 13 Undercover is now the talk of Houston and not sitting well with the mayor.
"In fact, it will probably go worldwide. Understand it is not reflective of the men and women who serve the city of Houston, that we took action to remove those officers immediately from the Houston Police Department and we will fight to keep those officers from ever coming back to the Houston Police Department," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
Activist Quanell X gave the tape to 13 Undercover, before a state judge issued a restraining order. The tape was also sealed by a federal judge in the Holley civil lawsuit.
"That tape made me angry as hell and I'm telling you when the people in the 'hood see it, they will be angry also and now it's time to come out," said Quanell X.
At KCOH radio on Thursday, the voices were loud and clear.
"I was outraged. I cannot believe that these officers behaved the way that they did," said Michael Harris.
The video showed the most physical cop that March day appeared to be Raad Hassan. His termination letter listed 15 kicks. There were a lot of them, and there was one kick after Holley was clearly handcuffed.
"We were afraid and we still have the fear that this will jeopardize his right to a fair trial," said Joe Ownby, attorney for Raad Hassan.
But the video created another firestorm Thursday after the mayor declared Wednesday night the person who gave us the video should be prosecuted.
"You're subtly saying to me, 'Quanell X if you got it and release it, we'll lock you up for it.' What I'm saying to her now is, 'Uh, uh, honey,'" said Quanell X.
Today the mayor appeared to back off.
"I was angry and frustrated last night. Having slept on it, I would not have been quite so harsh," said Mayor Parker.
But her words aren't sitting well in the minority community.
"If she wants to mess with us, go ahead and see what happens," Harris said.
And not just what she said about Quanell X. The mayor said Channel 13 was "irresponsible" for showing you a controversial police arrest that happened ten months ago.
"When you see that tape and the mayor's talking about prosecuting Quanell X and criticizing you and Channel 13 for showing it, her priorities are really screwed up in my opinion," said Harris.
"Look at what they have done to cover this tape up, and deny the public the right to see this tape," said Quanell X.
"I resent any implication that we were trying to hide the tape," said Mayor Parker.
Chad Holley was convicted in the burglary case, but the officers are yet to go to trial. The four indicted cops have plead not guilty.
ABC13 airs exclusive video of HPD beating of teen burglar
For more than nine months, we've been following the story of Chad Holley, a teen who said he was beaten by police officers during an arrest.
Four officers have been charged with crimes for the beating, and now, for the first time in this ABC13 Exclusive, we're getting to see the video.
Every patrol cop in this story has been told the video is out. The mayor wouldn't let you see it -- or the district attorney or the police chief.
We've all been told it's graphic and disturbing, and we remind you it is, as we show the video so many Houstonians have wanted to see.
It was an afternoon in March when a security camera captures the end of a Houston police pursuit. Burglar /*Chad Holley*/ tries to make a run for it, but he's clipped by a police car and falls on the ground. He clearly puts his arms out in the surrender pose then folds his arms before police move in.
The first officer stomps on Holley's head and he's repeatedly kicked. We counted four officers doing the kicking.
Then one officer lands five kicks. It looks like the kicks are landing on Holley's head.
Holley has been on the ground with cops on top of him for about 20 seconds and then one officer lands five heavy punches.
The officer who did the kicking in the beginning does it again -- this time from behind. Then he stomps on the back of his leg.
And then just before Holley is picked up to be taken to a patrol car, there's another lick.
But now we make this video public -- months after the district attorney, the police chief and the mayor refused to let you see it.
"I got the tape legally so sit back and watch your television tonight, like everybody else in this city, because we are all going to see what's going on," community activist Quanell X said.
Quanell X had been sued by one of the cops in the Holley case. A judge gave him the right to get the tape and he gave it to us. Just minutes after we made our copy, the federal judge who had blocked release of this tape before was on the phone trying to stop its release. It was too late.
"Absolutely it's a powerful tape, and it's a shameful tape because you see police officers out there at the scene behaving themselves like criminals -- not law enforcement officers who respect and honor their duty to the badge, and I'm telling you when the people in the hood see it, they're going to be angry also and now it's time that it come out," Quanell X said.
Four Houston police officers were indicted for what is seen on the video but on misdemeanor charges of official oppression -- not assault.
"I want to know how in the hell did they do what they did to that boy on that video tape and they only got charged with official oppression," Quanell X said.
Twelve officers were disciplined in the wake of the Holley case, but many have been given their jobs back against the city's will.
Authorities' response to video's release:
Houston Police Officer's Union Executive Director Mark Clark:
"We have thousands of officers who do a great job every day and they're not involved in this. Police officers do the best job they can do. This is a case that has to be sorted out. It's serious and it's a reflection on the department. But we have to let the system work. There's 4 people who've been charged and we'll have no comment on that until it's resolved in the courts."
Mayor Annise Parker:
"I was shocked and disgusted when I first viewed this tape. My feelings haven't changed. This is not acceptable in Houston. The City of Houston has fully supported the district attorney's desire to keep this video from being released prior to trial because we did not want to do anything that could jeopardize the prosecution of the police officers involved. We vigorously sought termination of the officers and continue to fight to keep them from ever again working at the Houston Police Department.
Whoever provided the video to Channel 13 is in violation of a federal court order and should be prosecuted. It is unfortunate and irresponsible that Channel 13 has chosen to air the material at this time."
Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland Jr. :
"I have already taken disciplinary action and will have no have further comment until the last case is adjudicated and or appealed."
Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos:
"The District Attorney's Office echoes the sentiments of Mayor Parker and Chief McClelland in their statements regarding the public release of the Chad Holley video tape. This release of the recording was done without the District Attorney's knowledge or consent. Despite the tape's release, we will continue to do everything possible to ensure that both the State and the defense are given a fair trial. If the tape's public release violated any federal court order, the matter would appropriately be dealt with in that particular venue."