More Felony Charges for More Officers from Deadly 2019 Houston No-Knock Raid

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More Felony Charges for More Officers from Deadly 2019 Houston No-Knock Raid
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U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- On 28 January, 2019, a Houston Police Department Narcotics unit executed a no-knock warrant on an innocent Houston Couple, Dennis Tuttle, a disabled Navy veteran, and his wife Rhogena Nicholas, a devout Christian.

The raid was based on lies told to the court, about drug sales that never happened, to obtain the warrant. The couple were not drug dealers. When armed men burst into their home, without warning, and killed their dog, Denis Tuttle is said to have fought back with his .357 revolver.

Dennis and his wife Rhogena and their dog were all killed. The organizer of the raid, then officer Gerald Goins, was wounded in the neck. He could not talk. That may be why the coverup fell apart. Three other officers were wounded.

Over the next year and a half, investigations forced onto the Houston police department by citizens, the FBI, the Tuttle family, and the Harris County Prosecutor, unraveled a story of corruption and lack of accountability that lead to the Tuttle deaths.

Two officers, Goins and his Partner, Steven Bryant, retired from the department, and were charged with both state and federal crimes. Hundreds of cases were brought into doubt. Harris County District Attorney, Kim Ogg announced a thorough, deep investigation into the Houston PD, especially the Narcotics squad 15, which had conducted the raid.

Now, a year and a half after the murder of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, a grand jury has come out with indictments for four more officers. All of the officers retired since the investigation into the raid began.

Prosecutors charged six officers, including Goins and Bryant, on 1 July, 2020.

The additional charges are primarily for overcharges of overtime, false claims about money for informants, and tampering with government records. Several of the charges are based on phone records which show what was claimed on government forms could not have happened, given the location records from the phones.  One officer characterized them as “paperwork violations”.  Small violations led to a sloppy attitude about following the rules. Many would say overcharging on overtime is not a small violation.  Then Dennis and Rhogena paid the price.

The Harris County Grand Jury brought indictments for 21 felonies for the six officers on 31 July, 2020. Those officers and the indictments are:

Officer Gerald Goines – Two counts of felony murder, a first-degree felony punishable by a possible sentence of life in prison. Four counts of tampering with a government record (search warrants) a third-degree felony, one count of aggregate theft by a public servant between $2,500 and $30,000, a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies are punishable by two to 10 years in prison.

Officer Steven Bryant – One count of aggregate theft by a public servant between $2,500 and $30,000, a third-degree felony.

Two counts of tampering with a government record (confidential informant forms which contain details of money allegedly given to informants for services or buying drugs) a state jail felony. State jail felonies are punishable by six months to two years in state jail

Sgt. Clemente Reyna – Three counts of tampering with a government record (confidential informant forms) a state jail felony. One count of aggregate theft by a public servant between $2,500 and $30,000, a third-degree felony.

Sgt. Thomas Wood – One count of tampering with a government record (confidential informant form) a state jail felony. One count of aggregate theft by a public servant between $2,500 and $30,000, a third-degree felony.

Lt. Robert Gonzales – One charge of misapplication of fiduciary property, a state jail felony, for the reckless handling of HPD money. Gonzales held a position of trust and was required to verify and authorize any expenditures of up to $2,500.

Officer Hodgie Armstrong – two charges of tampering with a government record, (an offense report and a confidential informant form) state jail felonies, one charge of aggregate theft by a public servant, a third degree felony.

Three of the officers charged were in management. The charges are, essentially, for not doing their job, and signing off on paperwork which they had not checked. The paperwork turned out to be false, thus, potentially fraudulent.

Prosecutor Kim Ogg made several comments on an interview on KHOU-11, on 31 July, which indicate the investigation has moved into what she previously called the third phase. Ogg said:

“This is the product of longterm, and at least within this squad, widespread corruption. ”

“We are going to go where the evidence leads on this shooting.” From khou interview on Youtube.

Ogg stated the prosecution is looking for answers to particular questions.

Why this happened?
Why these people?
Why so many shots?

Those questions have been on the minds of many observers for the last year and a half.

The initial gathering of forensic evidence has been called into question. There were two more evidence gathering teams at the scene, months later. There was a private forensic team, then a team from the Texas rangers. Members of the grand jury later insisted on seeing the scene for themselves.

Large city police departments have long had reputations for corruption, especially narcotics and vice departments. The temptations are more than many officers can withstand, especially over decades.

The digital revolution is undercutting the elements that made corruption possible. Digital recordings are usually considered more reliable than police testimony. Anyone can digitally record, anywhere, almost anytime.

What used to be fairly reliably anonymous, no longer is so. Cell phones track positions nearly everywhere. Many cars have GPS trackers.

Even without phones, all the other devices that record images and sounds are available to a competent government investigator. Surveillance cameras, doorbell cameras, and the ever more common body camera, all offer more information to digest, information which is less fallible than human eyes and memory.

Police can no longer rely on the political machine to cover for them, or for the Media to kill stories of corruption that implicate the media's political favorites.

Corruption at the level of the individual officer, or even the small unit, is becoming much more difficult.

The anti-corruption effect only happens where basic freedoms, such as those guaranteed by the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments are respected and flourish. All three are under serious attack.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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BrainMatters
BrainMatters
1 month ago

Doesn’t Texas have a death penalty, seems appropriate in light of the murders they committed. If they had not been law enforcement, the death penalty would not be off the table. They should be charges as if part of organized crime, as that is exactly what this was.

a.x. perez
a.x. perez
1 month ago

People have been so busy making a fuss about systemic racism in law enforcement attention has been drawn away from the systemic corruption by which a few crooks have dragged down thousands of good cops.

Get Out
Get Out
1 month ago

When a NKW goes wrong, everyone that had anything to do with it should be tried for murder and sent to prison at hard labor for a long time. These buffoons need to do away with all NKWs.

American Patriot
American Patriot
1 month ago

Whooha, who woulda thought another liberal area with corrupt cops….

Finnky
Finnky
1 month ago

@AP – Most of the world considers none of Texas to be liberal. Austin is definitely liberal, but Houston is just big. Other than being a big city and left of Ft Worth, why do you refer to Houston as liberal?

Tionico
Tionico
1 month ago

The root of the problem came in when some in government were coerced by others in private enterprise to outlaw possession/sale of certain “substances” that formerly had no such prohibition. Whenever an item is outlawed then only criminals will produce, package, transport, sell, promote, distribute that “substance”. When, back in the late 1920’s a chemical company, E I duPont de Nemours, by name, felt it necessary to take action to interfere with the potential market for their new cynthetic fibre, they detarmined to outlaw the main competing product in the marketplace, namely HEMP. This prohibitioin led to other similar “substances”,… Read more »

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

A year and a half to bring charges!!! Wow, if they take this much time going to court, with appeals, and technicalities, everyone involved will die of old age as the public loses interest. Justice is not happening. Meanwhile, are no-knock warrants still on the books?

Last edited 1 month ago by Bob
uncle dudley
uncle dudley
1 month ago

Every police officer that fired their weapon at the scene should have murder charges against them.
Another example how a few bad cops make it tough on all the good cops.

TexDad
TexDad
1 month ago

There are criminals that put themselves in a position where they need to be shot, there are criminals that don’t, there are police, and then there are citizens in general.

No-knock raids are dangerous for all of the above. They need to go away.

Bonus points if you can figure out which category covers Goins, Bryant, and their cohorts.

Tionico
Tionico
1 month ago
Reply to  TexDad

Yes

james
james
1 month ago

Not a single person charges with killing the family dog.

Finnky
Finnky
1 month ago
Reply to  james

– Right or wrong, legally dogs are just property and don’t have much value. Unless done in a particularly egregious abusive manner in front of several determined witnesses, cops are rarely penalized for shooting any dogs. In this case, I’d put it fairly low on the list of offenses. On the other hand, anyone threatening to shooting any of my family members (including dogs) may serve as a comparative value demonstration as to me, my dogs are more valuable than anyone making threats.

Westside
Westside
1 month ago

I want to start off by saying I am a strong supporter of the police. Without getting too deep, I have been appalled at anti-police rhetoric out of the left (including the media and Congress), and even more by the sound of crickets on most of the Republican side. All that being said, I find one thing about these charges very strange. If three men were involved in committing a crime during which someone was killed, all three would be charged with murder. In this case it appears that only the “organizer of the raid” is being so charged. Are… Read more »

Mystic Wolf
Mystic Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Westside

The investigation is far from over you can bet there ar ex going to be more charges coming out, two of the officers are still sitting in jail for the murder of mr Tuttle and his wife,

Finnky
Finnky
1 month ago
Reply to  Mystic Wolf

@MW – Still in jail awaiting trial. As another post above suggests – seems like they may be slow-walking this so that public outrage dies down. Given that public memory seems to last a week for biggest events – I’m pretty sure they’ve waited long enough.

Put them in general population and be done with it.

Stag
Stag
1 month ago

I want to know why they’re all not facing murder charges. In Texas, if someone dies during the commission of a crime then everyone involved with committing said crime is charged with murder. These thugs should face the same, if not greater, penalties than the rest of us are subject to.

Last edited 1 month ago by Stag
gregs
gregs
1 month ago

these officers, and others like them should not benefit from their corrupt acts and should forfeit all retirement benefits and pay they were to receive. they should suffer greatly if they abuse the authority provided them in their position and be punished more harshly than a regular citizen. police unions are complicit in retaining these corrupt officers by making it much harder to get rid of them, as a matter of fact, there should be no public employee unions. also there needs to be some serious changes in qualified immunity protections when government officials abuse their position, that includes politicians… Read more »

Bubb
Bubb
1 month ago

Excellent followup…

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! This evidenced in this matter. Prosecutors will tell you that successful criminal acts normally encourages more criminal acts. As a prosecutor I would say that if we didn’t get them this time, we would next time!!!

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
1 month ago

As much as I feel for any righteous in enforcement, I have known and worked with over 100 officers, lawyers and judges at city, State and Federal levels. Only 3 were righteous and 2 of them are retired. Not very good odds. There is a need in society for law enforcement, the riots we have all seen the last 4 months proves that fact. There must be ACCOUNTABILITY for everyone, equally. When that is ignored we have trouble on a national level. Only righteousness and that , over time, can bring back the trust that is able to heal the… Read more »

RoyD
RoyD
1 month ago

From the article: “Large city police departments have long had reputations for corruption, especially narcotics and vice departments. The temptations are more than many officers can withstand, especially over decades.”

I stopped counting at 40 after that many people had to leave the place I worked over the years. Just because you landed a law enforcement job doesn’t mean you are a honorable person.