Woman explains why she released Holley video

February 16, 2011 1:56:10 PM PST
By now, the public has become very familiar with the video showing the violent arrest of Chad Holley. But the video would have never surfaced if it weren't for one woman who has no stake in the case, and now, for the first time, we're hearing her story.

Cyndi Payton stayed in the background on purpose, letting Quanell X be the face of the tape. She got him involved in the first place, she says, because she didn't trust it would be public made otherwise. Since it has, she now feels comfortable stepping into the spotlight.

If it wasn't for Payton, we may have never seen the recording.

"I had to do it and I'd do it again," Payton said. "That tape is really, really bad."

At a town hall meeting Tuesday night on the subject, Payton stepped forward for the first time. It was quite the introduction. She didn't speak, but she didn't have to.

"It was overwhelming. It was great," she said.

But now she is.

"It was time I guess for me to come out and admit that I was the one," Payton said.

She was the manager at the storage facility last spring who called Quanell X and told him about the surveillance video she had just viewed.

"It was inhumane the way they treated him -- stomped him, punched him over and over and over again, kicked him in the face," she said.

Though she feared she'd be fired for exposing what a then 15-year-old Chad Holley endured, she felt compelled.

"And I felt it should be brought to the public's attention that these cops were bad, and I think Quanell did that," she said.

Seven officers were terminated, four face criminal charges, and the tape has forced the city and the police department to examine policies and training.

Payton has suffered too, she says.

"Next thing I know, I was fired, and on my separation papers, they didn't even put a reason. It was just blank," she said.

But she has no regrets.

"I just hope that every sacrifice that I've made will keep other people from doing what they did and make police officers more accountable for what they do," Payton said.

The storage company she worked for -- Uncle Bob's -- did forward a copy of the tape to HPD as well as the district attorney's office, but Payton says she also wanted a third party to have a copy.

We contacted Uncle Bob's corporate office in New York to ask about Payton's termination and they released a statement which read in part:

    "The employees who were directly involved in the discovery and subsequent handling of the video are valued members of our company. Claims that anyone was disciplined or fired for any matter connected to this incident are completely untrue and without merit. As it is Uncle Bob's policy to respect the privacy of all employees, we will not elaborate on Ms. Payton's separation, but we will state unequivocally that it was not as a result of this incident.

    We find it unfortunate that the people who discovered the video and who were instrumental in revealing its existence are being attacked by others who seemingly injected themselves into the situation. Uncle Bob's stands behind our decisions and actions. "