12 Houston police officers have been charged in connection with a botched 2019 raid
A total of 12 officers have now been indicted in connection with a 2019 botched raid that left two people dead in Houston.
Six officers were indicted last year, including Gerald Goines, who is accused of lying to obtain a warrant, and Steven Bryant, who is accused of tampering with government records.
Six other officers were indicted Monday, according to a statement from Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. Those officers face a variety of charges including murder, tampering with government records and engaging in organized criminal activity.
The raid took place January 28, 2019, when a tactical team raided the home of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle, who were both killed along with their dog. Several Houston officers on the team were injured in the raid, including Goines.
“The consequences of corruption are that two innocent people and their dog were shot to death in their home by police; four officers were shot, one paralyzed, and now all of them will face jurors who will determine their fate,” Ogg’s statement read.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Division investigated the raid and determined that Goines lied to obtain a warrant for a “no-knock” raid from a municipal judge, and misrepresented the victims’ drug activity, threat level and other factors. He claimed a criminal informant bought heroin from a man at the address the day before and that the man selling drugs was known to have a gun.
Last year, prosecutors said Bryant misrepresented facts surrounding the scene and the purchase of the drugs. Bryant gave a supplement to the original report that contained falsehoods, the prosecutor said.
The investigation also found that officers were “involved in a long-term scheme to steal overtime from the city,” Ogg’s statement read.
Former Houston police officer Felipe Gallegos was indicted for the death of Tuttle, according to court documents. His attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Tuesday Gallegos didn’t start shooting during the raid until two other officers had already been shot.
“A Harris County grand jury at the request of the District Attorney’s Office indicted a hero,” Hardin said. “It appears they (Tuttle and Nicholas) were innocent of drug activity at that scene as alleged. But once they started shooting, or once Mr. Tuttle started shooting, he was not innocent. And there is no question, and nobody will contradict that Mr. Tuttle started shooting at the officers.”
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted a statement Monday saying he’s “disheartened” the process to indict these officers took so long. An officer who was willing to testify was not given the opportunity, Acevedo said.
“I have said many times that the other officers involved in the incident, including the officer indicted today, had no involvement in obtaining the warrant and responded appropriately to the deadly threat posed to them during its service,” Acevedo said, adding that all current active officers who were indicted were relieved of duty.
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