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Houston chief testifies to attack

HOUSTON - Houston's police chief testified Tuesday that he believes an ex-officer accused of taking part in the videotaped beating of a 15-year-old burglary suspect kicked and stomped on the teen.

Police Chief Charles McClelland Jr. said the actions of fired officer Andrew Blomberg were "contrary to department policy, training and state law." Blomberg, 29, is the first of the four fired police officers to stand trial in the arrest that was caught on security camera video. He is charged with official oppression, a misdemeanor, and faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

In the video of the March 2010 arrest, the teenager, Chad Holley, who is black, can be seen on the ground, surrounded by at least five officers. Police appear to kick and hit his head, abdomen, and legs. In the video, Blomberg is the first officer to approach Holley. Prosecutors say the fired officer kicked the teenager several times before running off.

A community activist released the video to the media, prompting fierce criticism of the police department. Leaders in Houston's black community said they believed that the treatment of Holley was another example of police brutality and that the misdemeanor charges against the former officers were not serious enough. - AP

Coroner: Painter died of overdose

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Officials confirmed Tuesday that artist Thomas Kinkade died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription tranquilizers.

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office said that Kinkade died April 6 due to a combination of ethanol and Diazepam intoxication, or in common terms, alcohol and the tranquilizer often marketed as Valium.

Kinkade, 54, produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes that he sold in a nationwide chain of galleries. In recent years, he had run into personal difficulties, including a 2010 bankruptcy filing by one of his companies.

His brother Patrick Kinkade had said the painter battled alcoholism and had relapsed before his death at his Monte Sereno home. - AP

4 children on car, strapped to hood

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - An Indiana man accused of driving three blocks with four children strapped to the hood of his car was being held in jail Tuesday on charges of drunken driving and neglect, police said.

Fort Wayne police said the mother of three of those children also was being held on neglect charges. The other child belonged to the man. None of the children - ages 4, 5, 6, and 7 - was injured, police said.

A witness called police Monday evening after seeing a man and woman using a tow strap to tie the children to the car in a liquor store parking lot and then drive away, police said. She said a U.S. marshal overheard the police radio traffic, spotted the car, and pulled it over. The man had a blood-alcohol content of .17, more than twice Indiana's legal limit for driving, police said. - AP