Black Houston activists, angered by the beating of an African-American juvenile burglary suspect in police custody, are calling for creation of a citizens review panel to combat racial discrimination by the police department, reports the Houston Chronicle. NAACP leaders, along with representatives of a nearly a dozen community groups, said the beating of then 15-year-old Chad Holley is the latest example of police officers’ abusing minorities. Eight officers have been suspended in the incident, which was recorded by a surveillance camera at a nearby storage facility.
“We are calling for a civilian review board with investigative and subpoena power,” said community activist Quanell X. Gary Blankinship, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, said similar legislation is introduced every legislative session and it fails. “There is absolute no need for it. These people, they’re jumping to conclusions before they allow this process to run,” said Blankinship. “Every session the bill dies because lawmakers  understand that things like that become political.” James Douglas of the NAACP said, “You would think that after Rodney King, policemen would get smart and realize that Big Brother is also watching them. Technology has helped us prove to the rest of the world that what African-Americans, and Mexican-Americans and other minorities have been saying” — that “we cannot trust the people we’ve hired to protect us.”