Top Stories

DA Could Subpoena HPD Over Records About Botched Drug Raid, City Council Passes $5.1 Billion Budget For 2020, And Houston’s First Self-Driving Shuttle Rolls Out At TSU

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

This file photo shows the house where the botched raid occurred on January 28, 2019.

DA Could Subpoena HPD Over Records About Botched Drug Raid

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office warned the Houston Police Department on Thursday that it will serve the department with grand jury subpoenas next week if they don’t provide records related to all confidential informants who worked with the officers involved in a January 28 drug raid that left two civilians dead and five officers 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.

In a letter sent to the Houston Police Department on Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Natasha Sinclair said the DA’s office wants all the records about confidential informants used by HPD’s Narcotics Squad 15 from January 1, 2014, to the present.

Sinclair is giving HPD until the close of business on Monday, June 24, to turn over the records. If the police department doesn’t comply, the DA’s office will serve the department with grand jury subpoenas on Tuesday, June 25.

Mayor Turner’s 2020 budget proposal.

Houston City Council Passes $5.1 Billion Budget For 2020

Houston City Council approved a budget totaling $5.1 billion Wednesday, with $2.4 billion of that going to the general fund, or the city’s operating budget. 

The 2020 fiscal year begins on July 1.

The budget passed 12 to 4, with Councilmembers Brenda Stardig, Dwight Boykins, Greg Travis and Mike Knox voting against it.

In the ongoing debate over the implementation of Proposition B voter-mandated pay raises for firefighters, the city authorized layoffs in April of 220 firefighters. But when State district Judge Tanya Garrison ruled in May that Prop B was “unconstitutional and void in its entirety,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said there would be no layoffs.

Turner said there are no job cuts in the 2020 budget approved by Council. 

The autonomous shuttle travels at about 12 mph.

Houston’s First Self-Driving Shuttle Rolls Out At TSU

Texas Southern University is now home to Houston’s first autonomous shuttle — a tiny 12-passenger vehicle that will transport students and staff along TSU’s Tiger Walk.

METRO is operating the campus shuttle as part of a six-month pilot program to learn how autonomous vehicles could be used in other parts of the region. 

Several community partners have provided funding for the autonomous bus, which will be operated by transportation provider First Transit through a contract with METRO.

TSU’s Center for Transportation Training and Research will also help provide data on ridership. Lambert said they want to see if they can use those vehicles in other situations, such as picking up riders in their neighborhoods and dropping them off at transit centers. He added that larger self-driving buses could also be used in designated lanes to transport commuters.

Share