Community reacts to Holley arrest

Author: Robert Arnold, Investigative Reporter, rarnold@kprc.com
Published On: Jun 13 2012 11:25:57 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 14 2012 07:14:02 AM CDT
HOUSTON -

News of Chad Holley's arrest shot through the community like a lightening bolt. Holley's case became a rallying point for many in the minority community who felt unfair treatment at the hands of Houston police was going unchecked. Now questions are being raised as to what impact Holley's second arrest will have on the upcoming trials of the former Houston police still accused of brutality.

Holley's walk into the Harris County Jail Wednesday night follows his graduation from high school. One of Holley's staunchest supporters, community activist Quanell X, said he believed the teen's graduation showed a young man on the right path in life.

"The decision that young brother made today is heart breaking," said Quanell X. "I'm angry as hell because we put our freedom on the line, we put our life on the line, we put our resources on the line, people dug into their pockets to help this man."

Holley became an internationally known name in 2010 when video surfaced of several HPD officers punching and kicking Holley after chasing him down. Holley was arrested and eventually convicted of burglary in that case. Several Houston police officers seen on that video were also disciplined and four were charged criminally. The first to face trial was Andrew Blomberg. Attorney Dick DeGuerin won a not guilty verdict for the former officer.

"Chad Holley said he had reformed and the DA's Office had him all cleaned up, but I'm not surprised," DeGuerin said. "Unfortunately you can put lipstick on a pig and it doesn't help, it's still a pig."

"It's not surprising, we believe he was a suspect in multiple burglaries when he got charged the first time and if all the facts are correct it's not going to surprise us at all he's been charged again," said Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers Union.

However, both the executive director and president of the Houston chapter of the NAACP disagree. Reverend Reginald Lillie and Yolanda Smith said this recent arrest should be viewed separately from the actions of the Houston police officers, especially the former officers still awaiting trial.

"We're not justifying nor excusing, he has to deal with our justice system but we also want to make sure that those who carry out justice those who represent justice are handling themselves according to the law," said Lillie, president of the NAACP's Houston chapter.

"Whatever was done, whatever crime, we want to make sure that it is handled in the proper and lawful way," said Smith.

Local 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said he does not believe Holley's arrest will have an impact on the former police officers still awaiting trial.

"Unless somebody makes a mistake and 'opens the door' then this arrest will not be admissible as evidence in those trials," said Wice.

Wice said the arrest could possibly be used in Holley's civil lawsuit against the city. Wice said defense attorneys could argue something called "lack of reformation."