HOUSTON (Reuters) - Jurors convicted a former Houston police officer on Wednesday of official misconduct in the beating of an unarmed African-American teenage burglary suspect that was caught on video.
Drew Ryser, 32, who is white, received a six-month sentence but will not have to serve any time in jail if he completes two years probation and pays a $1,000 fine after the jury found him guilty on the misdemeanor charge for the 2010 incident.
Ryser had faced up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine for the incident in which several police officers were recorded on a video that was circulated widely on the Internet.
Ryser was accused of kneeing, kicking and pushing Chad Holley’s head into the ground in the incident. Holley, who was 15 at the time, was a burglary suspect and is now in jail on an unrelated burglary offense.
The jury, which Special Prosecutor Jon Munier said was “very diverse,” deliberated a little more than a day before reaching the verdict on Wednesday afternoon.
Ryser was one of seven police officers fired by the City of Houston for the incident, and one of four officers charged.
In the video, several officers can be seen striking and kicking Holley as he lay on the ground with his hands behind his back and in handcuffs.
Former Houston police officer Andrew Blomberg was acquitted over the same incident by an all-white jury last year, which prompted outcry and protests by community members.
Two other former officers, Raad Hassan and Phil Bryan, pleaded no contest in April to official misconduct. As part of the plea deal, they agreed to two years deferred adjudication and to pay court costs. They also lost their peace officer licenses for 10 years as a result.
In April, Ryser declined a plea deal that would have resulted in probation and an automatic 10-year suspension of his peace officer license.
Editing by David Bailey and Bob Burgdorfer