FBI Investigating Houston PD Warrants
Article from Reason by Jacob Sullum.
The fraudulent search warrant that authorized last month’s deadly Houston drug raid has prompted an FBI investigation and a review of more than 1,400 cases involving the narcotics officer who obtained the warrant.
“The FBI Houston Field Office has opened an independent civil rights investigation into allegations that a search warrant obtained by Houston police officers was based on false, fabricated information,” the FBI announced in a press release yesterday. “The execution of that search warrant at 7815 Harding Street, Houston, TX, on January 28, 2019, resulted in the deaths of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle as well as serious injuries to several Houston police officers.”
Officer Gerald Goines, who was shot in the neck during the no-knock raid, obtained the warrant by claiming that he had sent a confidential informant into the house on January 27 to buy heroin from a man matching Tuttle’s description. The C.I. supposedly returned with “a quantity of brown powder substance,” subsequently identified as black-tar heroin, and reported that there many more bags of it in the house, along with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Police found neither of those things, or any other evidence of drug dealing, when they searched the house the next day after they killed Nicholas and Tuttle during a shootout they started by breaking into the house and killing the couple’s dog with a shotgun.
After two informants named by Goines and every other C.I. known to work with him denied participating in the “controlled buy” he described, investigators concluded that Goines had invented the episode. Goines “lied in an affidavit,” Police Chief Art Acevedo said last Friday, and “more than likely…will be charged with a serious crime.” Under Texas law, lying in a search warrant affidavit is aggravated perjury, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. Under federal law, willfully depriving someone of his constitutional rights “under color of any law” is punishable by a prison term up to life or by execution “if death results.”
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Tony Webster [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons