HOUSTON - The trial for the fourth Houston police officer to face charges in the Chad Holley videotaped beating continued Wednesday, and the city's top cop took the stand for the prosecution.
Through three days of testimony, defendant Drew Ryser's family has shared the courtroom with community activists who believe Ryser should be convicted. Judge Rueben Guerro Wednesday warned spectators not to approach Ryser's family or use racial slurs.
On Tuesday, someone allegedly called Ryser's mother and brother racist pigs, and referred to another family member as a "child beater."
After hearing that, community activist Quanell X, who heads the local chapter of the New Black Panthers, says he personally apologized to Ryser's mother.
"I am very unhappy to hear that happened yesterday but I will do everything within my power to make sure that doesn't happen again," said Quanell X.
Prosecutors finished with their last witness Wednesday morning: Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland. He testified that video of the arrest of teenage burglary suspect Chad Holley showing Ryser kicking him on the ground is proof that Holley was mistreated.
"We just need to let the court run it's process," Chief McClelland said.
But the first defense witness, one of Chief McClelland's own officers, directly contradicted him. Lt. Timothy Kubiak was Ryser's supervisor on the HPD Gang Task force. Defense attorney Carson Joachim asked Kubiak, "Do you believe Drew Ryser mistreated Chad Holley on March 23, 2010?"
Kubiak answered, "He did not."
Kubiak said Ryser's actions were legal and justified. Though Holley was on the ground with his hands on his head, he allegedly resisted officers' attempts to handcuff him. Kubiak said under police protocol, Holley was considered a threat until his hands were cuffed behind him, and he'd been searched for weapons.
Ryser is charged with official oppression, a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail.
Two other officers indicted in the Holley case pled no contest last year in exchange for two years probation. A third officer, Andrew Blomberg, was acquitted.
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