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.