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FBI Arrests Former Officers, Neighbor For Roles In Harding Street Drug Raid

The FBI arrested former HPD officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant, along with Patricia Garcia, a neighbor on Harding Street who called 9-1-1. 

The Pecan Park house where the botched drug raid took place in January.

This post has been updated with quotes from Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Two former Houston police officers now face federal charges stemming from the January drug raid on Harding Street that left two citizens dead and several officers injured, according to federal investigators.

The FBI on Wednesday arrested former HPD officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant, along with Patricia Garcia, a neighbor on Harding Street who called 9-1-1. 

“We made a commitment when this happened to this community to look at the good, the bad and the ugly and to report back, and today is another step in that journey towards justice, in the journey to justice for the deceased individuals,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a press conference following the arrests. He also emphasized HPD’s continued cooperation with the FBI and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in their investigations.

On January 28, narcotics officers with the Houston Police Department raided the home of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas. After a shootout in which the details are still disputed, the couple and their dog were dead. Five officers were also wounded. 

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office previously charged Goines with two counts of felony murder, and Bryant with tampering with a government document. 

In the federal indictment, Goines is charged with two counts of violating the victims’ fourth amendment rights, which protect against unreasonable searches. The indictment alleges that Goines’ search warrant for their house included false statements, which ultimately led to their deaths. 

Goines is also charged with three counts of obstructing an official proceeding by falsely stating on two separate occasions that a confidential informant had purchased narcotics at the Harding Street home, and falsely stating once that he had purchased narcotics there. 

Both Goines and Bryant are charged with obstructing justice by falsifying records. According to the indictment, Goines’ tactical plan and offense report contained false information, while Bryant falsely claimed that heroin from Goines’ vehicle had been purchased from the Harding Street house. The indictment also alleges that Bryant falsely claimed that he had previously worked with Goines on the Harding investigation.

Garcia is charged with lying to 9-1-1 operators. Prior to the drug raid, on January 8, she allegedly called 9-1-1 several times saying her daughter was inside the house. She also claimed the residents were drug dealers who had machine guns inside the home — none of which was true, according to the federal charges. 

“The police department received a call, you know that, somebody that placed a call to the police department or maybe more than one call, led to a chain of events that but for that call, the information provided, we wouldn’t be standing here today,” Acevedo said. He declined to provide more details regarding Garcia’s role and the 9-1-1 call.  

In the months following the raid, continuing revelations contradicting the officers’ version of events spurred a review of thousands of cases handled by the officers. The story of what actually happened on January 28 is not clear either, as independent investigators hired by the family of Rhogena Nicholas claim forensic evidence collected from the scene does not match HPD’s narrative

The three are set to appear in court at 2 p.m. If convicted, Goines could face up to life in prison, while Garcia faces 5-years for presenting false information. Each obstruction of justice charge carries up to 20-years in prison.

Florian Martin also contributed to this story.

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