HOUSTON (AP) — Leaders in Houston's black community called Tuesday for indictments against eight police officers accused of beating a teenage burglary suspect in an incident caught on surveillance video.
Representatives of the NAACP's Houston branch, the Nation of Islam and other groups said they have confidence in the legal system and will continue working to ensure the officers are prosecuted.
"We will not allow anyone to come into our communities, hurt our families and then walk away," Carolyn Scantlebury, president the NAACP Houston chapter, said at a news conference. "We are going to stay on top of this. We are here to fight."
One sergeant and seven officers were suspended with pay last month after being accused of using excessive force against the then 15-year-old, who was arrested in late March following a brief chase.
The Harris County District Attorney's Office and the Houston Police Internal Affairs Division are conducting separate investigations.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Police Chief Charles McClelland have promised a thorough investigation of the incident.
"I want to assure the public we will be transparent and open with our findings once the ongoing investigation is completed," McClelland said in a statement Tuesday. He said the FBI has been contacted about the incident.
Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office, said her office is not commenting on the case. She did not know how long its investigation would take.
Community activists say the alleged beating was captured by a surveillance camera at a self-storage business in southwest Houston. The video has not been made public, but activists say it shows officers beating and kicking the teenager, who was handcuffed.
Parker, who's seen the video, has said she was disturbed by it.
Wilvin Carter, the teenager's attorney, said the videotape will be released once various legal issues are sorted out.
The teenager, now 16, and his mother were at Tuesday's news conference but did not speak to reporters. The Associated Press does not name juveniles who have been accused of crimes.
Carter said his client was arrested for burglary of a habitation but the charge has not been proven.
"He's laying on the ground, not resisting (arrest). There was no reason to do what they did," activist Quanell X said.
The teenager's mother has said her son's nose was fractured, and he had multiple bruises and limped after the beating.
On Tuesday, Quanell X and other activists released photographs of the teenager that were taken after the alleged beating. The pictures of his face and head, show him with a bright red right eye and a deep cut or gash on his right temple.
The photographs did not show other bruises or injuries or swelling on the teenager's face and head.
"The darkness of his skin would make it seem (the injuries are) not that bad," Quanell X said. "But it doesn't lessen the brutality of the incident."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
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