After a January raid left two dead and five officers injured, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says the department will end “no-knock” warrants.
Houston police will also be mandated to wear body cameras during raids.
Officer Gerald Goines obtained a search warrant to confirm the sale of drugs at a home in Houston. On January 28th, Goines and other officers served a no-knock warrant at the home of Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58. Both were killed after firing upon police, who had failed to identify themselves due to the nature of the warrant. Police allege Tuttle attempted to grab the service weapon of one of the injured officers before being shot.
Local activists who knew the couple maintain that Tuttle and Nicholas would not have fired upon officers had they announced their presence.
Hai Bui, executive member of the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice, invited Acevedo to a town hall to speak to speak to concerned citizens, along with Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and Mayor Sylvester Turner. Bui’s group, which aims to end no-knock warrants, demanded accountability during Monday’s meeting, which included shouting from members of the crowd.
“We do want murder charges listed for the gentlemen who lied to obtain the warrant that killed two innocent people and their dogs,” said resident Sheree Dore.
“It can happen to anyone of us — you, me, any one of us, your family members — when it knocks on your door then you will feel the pain,” protestor Nikkita Braziel said.
Police documents revealed that the warrant was justified by a false claim that an informant purchased heroin from the home, where he also observed a weapon. The two informants named by Gomes acknowledged their past work with the officer, but one told investigators he had not worked on this specific case, while the other admitted purchasing heroin at Goines’ direction from a home five miles away.
Goines, who was shot during the raid, is recovering at a Houston-area facility, where his jaw is wired shut. He will be relieved of his duties when discharged.
Acevedo told media that he was “very confident we’re going to have criminal charges on one or more of the officers.”
“The no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city,” Acevedo told attendees at Monday’s meeting. Police officers will now need a special exception from his office to execute a no-knock raid.