Another Houston Cop Is Indicted for Murder Because of a 2019 Drug Raid That Killed a Middle-Aged Couple
A second Houston narcotics officer has been charged with murder in connection with the January 2019 no-knock drug raid that killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas in their home on Harding Street. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg yesterday announced that a grand jury had indicted Officer Felipe Gallegos for murdering Tuttle, who according to police fired at the cops after they broke into his home and killed his dog while serving a search warrant based on a heroin deal that never happened. Gallegos faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.
Gerald Goines, the former narcotics officer who lied to obtain the search warrant, already had been charged with two counts of felony murder as well as federal civil rights violations. Steven Bryant, an officer who backed up Goines’ phony story, likewise faces state and federal charges. Prosecutors say Goines’ shady practices go back more than a decade, tainting at least 164 convictions.
The new indictments also include eight current or former narcotics officers who are accused of “engaging in organized criminal activity” by falsifying government records as part of “a long-term scheme to steal overtime from the city.” Five were charged with first-degree felonies that carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, while three were charged with second-degree felonies punishable by prison terms of two to 20 years.
So far 12 current or former narcotics officers have been charged as a result of the investigation triggered by the Harding Street raid. “The consequences of corruption are that two innocent people and their dog were shot to death in their home by police; four officers were shot, one paralyzed,” Ogg said. “Now all of them will face jurors who will determine their fate.”
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who described the cops who killed Tuttle and Nicholas as “heroes” but wants credit for not covering up Goines’ lies, implicitly criticized the decision to charge Gallegos with murder. “It was our investigation that uncovered the malfeasance of the two former HPD officers [Goines and Bryant] who were subsequently charged with criminal offenses related to their actions in obtaining the warrant,” he said in a statement he posted on Twitter yesterday. “Today, I learned that another officer who was involved in the Harding Street officer-involved shooting [Gallegos] has been indicted for murder. I have said many times that the other officers involved in the incident, including the officer indicted today, had no involvement in obtaining the warrant and responded appropriately to the deadly threat posed to them during its service.”
The grand jury obviously disagreed. Contrary to what Acevedo implies, the issues raised by this disastrous operation go beyond the fictitious transaction that supposedly justified it. According to a lawyer representing Nicholas’ family, she and Tuttle were taking a nap when plainclothes cops stormed into their house around 5 p.m. and immediately used a shotgun to kill their dog. According to Acevedo, Tuttle resp
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