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Activists Want Houston Police Department To End No-Knock Search Warrants After Deadly Raid

The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice will hold a town hall meeting on Monday evening to discuss the raid and ask questions of Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

The Pecan Park house where four police officers were shot Monday while serving a search warrant.
Florian Martin/Houston Public Media
The Pecan Park house where four Houston police officers were shot on January 28, 2019, while serving a no-knock search warrant.

A local civil rights and criminal justice reform group says the Houston Police Department should stop conducting no-knock search warrants after the January 28 deadly drug raid that resulted in two people dead and five officers wounded.

The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice will hold a town hall meeting on Monday evening at Talento Bilingüe, near downtown Houston, to discuss the raid and ask questions of HPD Chief Art Acevedo. The coalition has also invited Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

“We invite them to come out because when they got elected they promised transparency, openness, so here is a great opportunity to do that,” Hai Bui, an executive member of the coalition, told News 88.7.

Bui said his group's ultimate goal is for HPD to stop conducting no-knock search warrants. But he also talked about other possibilities for search protocols and procedure changes.

One suggestion he made was for officers to only use no-knock search warrants at night, when there could be less risk of hurting civilians. “Maybe arrest the people outside of a house, just wait for them to leave when they go get gas or whatever, just wait,” he added.

Bui also referenced a New York Times' investigation which found that at least 94 people, 81 civilians and 13 law enforcement officers, died in forced-entry raids from 2010 through 2016.

Coalition members also want to question Houston leaders about the officer who allegedly lied about the sale of drugs at the house. That officer may face criminal charges, as Acevedo acknowledged last Friday. The officers conducted the search to seize heroin, but they didn’t find any at the home of Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, both of whom were killed in the shootout.

The town hall is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

HPD's Internal Affairs division and Special Investigations Unit are conducting an investigation about the raid.