(CBS/AP) HOUSTON - On Wednesday, Houston's police chief, Charles McClelland Jr., denied allegations that he decided to fire the officers involved in the 2010 videotaped police beating of a black, teenage burglary suspect before an internal affairs investigation was completed.
McClelland made his remarks while testifying in the trial of 32-year-old former police officer Drew Ryser, one of the four officers who was fired and indicted over the beating of then 15-year-old Chad Holley. Ryser is on trial for a misdemeanor charge of official oppression.
McClelland stated that the officers were wrong in their actions but Lisa Andrews, one of Ryser's lawyers, said that Ryser was justified in kicking Holley because the suspect was resisting arrest.
In the video of the March 2010 police beating, Holley fell to the ground when he tried to hurdle a police squad car after he and three others allegedly tried to break into a home. He was then surrounded by five officers who appeared to kick him and hit his head, stomach and legs.
Ryser's lawyers said the former officer was following procedure when he went to arrest Holley, who the police suspected might be armed.
Community activists called the beating an example of police brutality against minorities, openly criticizing the Houston police department.
The trial is being heard by a six-person jury and is expected to last until Monday. If convicted, Ryser could face up to one year in prison.
Two of the officers charged in the case pleaded no contest and took plea agreements. They were sentenced to two years' probation in April. The fourth defendant was acquitted in May of last year.
Holley was convicted of burglary in juvenile court in October 2010 and placed on probation. He was arrested in 2012 on another burglary charge and sentenced to six months in jail and seven years' probation.