Call on the Justice Department to stop Houston's brutal police culture

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The above video which was released last week shows four Houston police officers brutally beating a 15-year old burglary suspect, without cause, while at least eight other officers looked on and did nothing.  And the officers are facing only misdemeanors.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new for Houston, which has a history of police misconduct and a lack of accountability.  Please join us in demanding real accountability by calling on the Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Chad Holley’s brutal beating, and the culture that led to it.

Below is the text of the petition we will send to Attorney General Eric Holder and DOJ Civil Rights Division Chief Tom Perez:

Dear Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez,

I’m writing to urge the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to launch an investigation of the March 3, 2010 beating of teenager Chad Holley at the hands of the Houston Police Department.

As a graphic video shows, Holley, a burglary suspect, had surrendered to officers when they began stomping, kicking, and punching him. Despite this gross and obvious betrayal of the public’s trust and the injury to the young man — including a broken nose — the officers faced misdemeanor charges and only one year in prison under state law. It appears that federal prosecution will be necessary if the officers are to receive punishment commensurate with the crime they appear to have committed.

Many other officers at the scene of the crime appear to have willingly participated in a cover-up of the crime. This seems to indicate a culture of secrecy and impunity at Houston Police Department, where officers could so clearly infringe on someone’s civil rights with the full belief that they would get away with it. And in this case they would have, had it not been for the anonymous submission of security video capturing the incident.

Black men in Houston have long complained of police brutality. Now that an incident has been caught on video, there is a real opportunity to bring much-needed and long-awaited change to the Houston Police Department.

I respectfully request that you instruct the Civil Rights Division to conduct a criminal investigation of the officers responsible for Chad Holley’s beating, as well as a patterns and practices investigation of the Houston Police Department.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

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