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Houston Police Turn Over Narcotics Division Files For Probe Of Botched Raid

Last week, the District Attorney’s office warned HPD the department would be served with subpoenas unless it submitted the files by Monday.

The Pecan Park house where four police officers were shot on January 28, 2019 while serving a search warrant.
Florian Martin/Houston Public Media
This file photo shows the house where the botched raid occurred on January 28, 2019.

The Houston Police Department has turned over thousands of files from its narcotics division to the Harris County District Attorney’s office. The DA’s office said Monday prosecutors will review the files as part of an investigation sparked by a January 28 botched drug raid in which two civilians died and five officers were wounded.

Houston police officers, led by case agent Gerald Goines, conducted the no-knock raid at a house on the 7800 block of Harding Street, in southeast Houston, owned by Dennis Tuttle. According to HPD, a shootout occurred after the officers entered, resulting in the death of Tuttle and his wife Rhogena Nicholas.

Last week, the DA’s office warned HPD the department would be served with subpoenas unless it submitted the files by close of business on Monday. Dane Schiller, spokesman for the DA’s office, said “an agreement has been reached for remaining records to be provided next week.”

Goines and a narcotics officer, Steven Bryant, both of whom have retired from HPD, are being investigated for criminal violations. District Attorney Kim Ogg decided in April to dismiss 27 pending criminal cases in which they were material witnesses who could be required to testify. Ogg said she couldn't "vouch" for the officers' credibility.

Additionally, the FBI has launched a civil rights investigation of the raid.

The DA’s Civil Rights and Public Corruption divisions will review the files turned over by the police department. The files focus on the use of confidential informants by narcotics officers.

The DA’s office is also asking the Harris County Commissioners Court for approval to hire ten additional employees and funding in the amount of $1.7 million to help in the investigation. The commissioners are scheduled to vote on that request on Tuesday.

Schiller said the additional prosecutors would be assigned to the Civil Rights Division and Public Corruption Division, and possibly the Conviction Integrity Division, as part of the ongoing probe.

“The Harding Street case is huge and more complex than most other cases,” Schiller said. “From possible misconduct to the use of confidential informants, we must review everything and get it right.”