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One cop charged in Houston house raid/double murde

Posted By: Baudelaire.
Date: 7/7/20 02:28

The chief and other management knew damn well what was up but no charges for them...

Former HPD officer charged with murder in botched raid at Harding Street house

St. John Barned-Smith and Keri Blakinger
Aug. 23, 2019 Updated: Aug. 23, 2019 3:11 p.m.

A former narcotics officer has been charged with first-degree murder, nearly seven months after a botched drug raid that left a south Houston couple dead and unleashed a sprawling police scandal.

Ex-case agent Gerald Goines on Friday was hit with two counts of felony murder and is still under investigation over claims he stole guns, drugs and money, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced at a news conference downtown. His partner, Steven Bryant, was also charged with one count of witness tampering.

Both men are expected to turn themselves in by the end of the day, but prosecutors said a review of more than 14,000 cases and a broader investigation into the rest of the squad is still underway.

“We have not seen a case like this in Houston,” Ogg said. “I have not seen a case like this in my 30-plus years of practicing law.”

Mike Doyle, an attorney representing family members of the slain couple, welcomed the news of the charges.

“Based on everything we've seen so far, that's certainly something that should happen,” he said, “but it really can't be the ending point based on what we've uncovered so far.”

On Jan. 28, Houston narcotics officers burst into the house at 7815 Harding Street looking for heroin.

The raid went awry almost immediately, with gunfire erupting moments after an undercover narcotics team broke down the door to the Pecan Park home. Dennis Tuttle and his wife, Rhogena Nicholas, were killed and five officers were injured, including case agent Goines, who was shot in the neck.

Police said they were looking for heroin dealers, but the raid only turned up small, user-level amounts of cocaine and marijuana. In the days that followed, an internal investigation sparked questions about the officers’ justification for the search warrant. Though a sworn affidavit - signed by case Goines - recounted a controlled buy made by a confidential informant, police quickly realized they could not verify that claim or find the alleged informant.

The FBI opened a civil rights investigation into the incident.

In July, several Houston police officers tied to the raid testified before a federal grand jury, a sign that prosecutors could be one step closer to federal criminal charges in the case.

On HoustonChronicle.com: Federal grand jury hears testimony from Houston police officers about botched Pecan Park raid

In late July, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg won approval to hire more prosecutors to handle fallout from the botched raid.

Nicholas’ family has since hired a forensics expert to conduct an independent review, which questions police accounts of the raid.

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