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Defense wraps up case in official oppression trial

Friday, June 07, 2013

The final officer charged in the Chad Holley case is on the defense. Drew Ryser is on trial after prosecutors say he was caught on video beating Holley -- a teenage burglary suspect.

On Friday, the defense called more witnesses. The defense team's final two witnesses are experts in police use of force, who both told the jury they believe the blows Ryser is seen giving Chad Holley were reasonable during that chaotic arrest.

Ryser spent the day watching closely as his defense team continued calling its final witnesses to the stand.

The jury heard from two use of force experts paid to analyze the former officer's actions in the video of the controversial 2010 arrest of Chad Holley. Former Texas Ranger Sergeant Jess Malone told the jury he believed Ryser "...was a man on a mission to get the suspects hands out of the way."

Ryser, who has appeared calm and confident throughout the trial this week, is accused of mistreating Holley, a then 15-year-old burglary suspect by kicking, punching and rubbing the teen's face into the ground. Ryser told the jury he didn't kick Holley, but admits he elbowed and kneed the teen.

However, on Friday Malone told the jury, based on his analysis of the video, he believes the blows and knee strikes Ryser is seen giving Holley were perfectly lawful in order to secure the burglary suspect's hands.

"I think the key thing is that he did go for his hands," Malone testified. "He wanted to secure those hands. Hands are what kill us."

The second defense expert, Maurice Cook, told the jury he agreed with that analysis, saying he believes Ryser acted reasonably during the arrest given the totality of the circumstances.

The jury was sent home Friday afternoon and told to come back Tuesday, when they can expect to hear closing arguments in this case.

The other three officers who were charged in the incident have had their cases disposed of. Officers Phil Bryan and Raad Hassan pleaded no contest to charges earlier this year and under a plea deal received two years deferred adjudication. Officer Andrew Blomberg went to trial and was found not guilty of official oppression. All three officers were fired from HPD.

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