Avert Your Eyes, Texans

It’s too horrible.  You won’t be able to handle it.  Don’t watch. 

That’s what the federal Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. District Attorney Pat Lykos and Houston Mayor Annise Parker contend, that this video shouldn’t be released as it’s too “shocking and sickening” for our delicate sensibilities.

Whether your stomach can take it is up to you.  I warned you.


The young man in the year old video, Chad Holley, was convicted of burglary and sentenced to probation.  Given Texas law, he’s lucky he wasn’t shot to death by a neighbor.  They get a bit sensitive about intrusions into their castles in Harris County.

But the Houston police, for reasons that remain unclear, took a special interest in Holley.  Unfortunately, it appears to have been “feet only” day on the Houston streets, explaining why officer after officer felt compelled to kick this kid from head to groin, over and over, despite his lying prostrate, hands in plain view, unarmed and non-threatening.  What better time for the cops to kick the crap out of a kid?

There are questions as to why the police on this video were not charged with misdemeanor assault  rather than the lesser offense of official oppression.  The police chief fired the four charged officers, together with three others, and plans to keep them fired until they are reinstated with back pay at an arbitrator’s whim.

More importantly, what does this video say about the culture of police in Houston?

Disbelief that our paid professional police force includes groups of officers capable of such actions against a prone, unarmed youth. And shame that it took an inadvertent video-camera tape from a self-service storage company to expose their actions. How many other similar incidents have gone unreported because they occurred outside the view of witnesses and camera lenses?

This  Houston Chronicle editorial asks an interesting question, but one that should have been asked long ago.  It’s not as if this is the  first video of cops beating someone.  Did they forget about others? 

What is most striking about this attack is how these fine, upstanding police officers kick Holley, over and over, one after another.  What a fabulous show of force, manly men all.

After watching the video, I’m constrained to agree with the judge, the district attorney and the mayor.  This is a video that no one should ever see.  Not because it shows Houston police engaged in shocking and disgusting conduct, something that everyone ought to be aware of and recognize to be the sad reality on the streets, but because the police in Houston, as opposed to elsewhere where the cops, when compelled to give a perp a damn good beating, do it like men.

There’s plenty of machismo in the drinking water of Harris County, as well as the rest of Texas, where no one hesitates to pull the trigger of a 12-gauge when they spot some kids crushing the neighbor’s blades of grass or walking too close to the garden gnomes for comfort.  They’re a tough bunch of hombres.

But the Houston police behaves like sissies, kicking a man down.  Not even man enough to throw punches, save one, empowering his brother cop to step behind Holley and give a few more kicks to his crotch.  How masculine.  How powerful. How macho.

No, this isn’t the way Houston should see their police.  It’s one thing for them to watch a video where the police beat Chad Holley for no reason whatsoever after he’s prone on the ground, and that’s the sort of thing any manly Texan can appreciate.  But to do so like such sissies is too much for any good Texan to stand. 

If it’s not too late, avert your eyes.  No one needs to see this humiliation of Texan manhood.

9 comments on “Avert Your Eyes, Texans

  1. Jdog

    Oh, it’s likely worse than you say. Alas. Hereabouts, and in many places, reinstating bad cops and giving them a retroactive paid vacation is not an arbitrator’s whim, but a contractual obligation.

    Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the MPDFederation, nor a party to the contract, except, as a Minneapolis taxpayer, I have the great honor and high privilege of paying for it. And not just financially.

    I don’t make this stuff up, you know.

  2. SHG

    Arbitration is like court in many respects.  Contractual provisions are subject to interpretations, just as laws are subject to interpretations.  Facts have to be found, and then weighed as their subjective seriousness.  The difference is that binding arbitration isn’t subject to review, as is the decision of a judge, so the arbitrator’s decision is final no matter how absurd or wrong it is. 

  3. REvers

    Getting the party started by hitting the kid with the car was a nice touch, don’t you think? That should get some style points with the arbitrator.

  4. Sojourner

    Thank you Scott. I think wimpiness is at the heart of most corrupt good-ole-boy outgrowth-of-the-KKK Texan police misconduct. That’s why they need a badge and a gun.

    In this case, I’m especially disturbed by the fact that the beat-up kid in the video was not allowed to show the video at his trial, where he was convicted of burglary and is now serving a jail sentence.

    It’s the Texas way. We get to beat you senseless when you’re unarmed and defenseless and then we get to put you in jail, just to show how macho (NOT) we are.

    When I see stuff like this, I’m always reminded of Bull Connor, and how the KKK blamed the Birmingham church bombing that murdered the little girls on the NAACP. Infantile doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    We passed the civil rights act 47 years ago, but this is still standard operating procedure.

  5. pml

    Sorry, but I have little or no sympathy for him. Break the law, run from the police, ex[ect to get punished.

  6. David

    The other problem is that many arbitrators assigned to these sort of cases come from a labor law background and perspective where they approach these cases with a mindset of “is there a way to split the difference and save the employee’s job” instead of a question of public safety in regards to the risks posed to the public by retaining the person as a police officer. This is why we generally see such a high overturn rate for officers who are dismissed.

    It’s not because they didn’t do what they were fired for doing, it’s that the arbitrator found some way to save the officer’s job despite the officer doing what they did.

  7. Dave W.

    I think the video should have been allowed in at the jury trial as being relevant to the credibility of any evidence gathered against Defendant Holley by members of the department. The civil case would be worse if Holley was not prosecuted and convicted. That is a motivation to lie, use undue influence to get testimony against Holley from the ones who admitted to the burglary, etc.

    Video was excluded, but the case is on appeal. Hopefully they will reverse and let the video in.

  8. Arachne646

    That a***ole made all those cops run all that way(except for the one that hit him with the car)you know they’re gonna have to take it out on him somehow, and they were too winded to hold him up and hit him.

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