Search and Seizure

C.I. Whose Heroin Buy Led to a Deadly Houston Drug Raid Does Not Seem to Exist

An application for a warrant to search a narcotics officer's cellphone reveals that police have been unable to identify the informant.

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The no-knock search warrant for the drug raid that killed a middle-aged couple in their Houston home on January 28 seems to have been based on a "controlled buy" that never happened by a confidential informant who does not exist. According to a February 8 search warrant affidavit obtained by KPRC, the NBC station in Houston, investigators looking into the raid at 7815 Harding Street, the home of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, have been unable to identify the C.I. who supposedly bought heroin from Tuttle the day before.

Sgt. Richard Bass submitted the February 8 affidavit in support of a warrant to search a cellphone used by Steven Bryant, a narcotics officer who participated in the raid and who was suspended last week because of unanswered questions about the warrant for it, which was obtained by Gerald Goines, another narcotics officer. Bass says Bryant talked to Goines, who was shot during the raid and remains hospitalized, and relayed the name of the C.I., who denied making the purchase described in Goines' affidavit.

Bryant went back to Goines and got the name of another C.I., who also denied participating in the controlled buy. Investigators eventually talked to all of the informants known to work with Goines, and "all denied making a buy for Goines from the Harding Street residence, and ever purchasing narcotics from Tuttle or Nicholas."

If that transaction did not actually happen, it would explain why police found no heroin at the house, where the C.I. supposedly had seen many bags of it. The only drugs found in the search were small amounts of cocaine and marijuana, consistent with personal use. Nor did police find the 9mm semi-automatic handgun that Goines said the C.I. also mentioned. Bass notes another inconsistency: While Goines' affidavit says Bryant saw the brown powder purchased by the C.I. and recognized it as black-tar heroin, Bryant told Bass he did not see the heroin until he was asked to retrieve it from Goines' car so it could be tested.

"Often when individuals communicate with their confidential informants," Bass notes, "they will use their cellular devices to communicate via telephone call or text message." Hence he hoped the contents of Bryant's cellphone would help illuminate the circumstances that led to the deadly raid.

The story that is now emerging goes something like this. On January 8, a woman called the Houston Police Department to complain that her daughter was "doing drugs" inside the house at 7815 Harding Street. "Her daughter was in the house, and there were guns and heroin," Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a press conference three days after the raid. "The informant stated she did not want to give any information because they were drug dealers and they would kill her." But last week KTRK, the ABC station in Houston, reported, based on interviews with "sources close to the investigation," that the "informant" was Nicholas' mother, who was worried because her 58-year-old daughter "was doing drugs inside her own home." According to Acevedo, two patrol officers who went to the house in response to that call overheard a passer-by refer to it as "the dope house."

Aside from that incident, it seems the only evidence that Tuttle and Nicholas were drug dealers was the controlled buy reported by Goines, which now appears to have been invented. If so, it is easier to understand why neighbors who spoke to the press after the raid say they never saw any suspicious activity at the house, notwithstanding Acevedo's claim that "the neighborhood thanked our officers" for the raid "because it was a drug house" and a "problem location."

Update: At a press conference today, Acevedo said Goines' "actions, in terms of his conduct, are in question," because "it appears that there are some material untruths or lies in that affidavit, and that's a problem; that's totally unacceptable." But he insisted that "we had reason to investigate that location," and "the investigation continues to show that." He referred again to the January 8 call, which by his account came from "the mother of a young woman that was in there doing heroin." That contradicts KTRK's story.

Acevedo's assessment of Goines' conduct became less tentative as the press conference continued. "A person lied in an affidavit, and I'm angry about that," he said. "We know we've had a criminal violation, and a serious criminal violation, by the individual that prepared that affidavit….More than likely, the investigating officer will be charged with a serious crime at some point." Under Texas law, lying in a search warrant affidavit is aggravated perjury, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. Goines has been on the force for 34 years, and Acevedo said the department is reviewing his cases to see if there has been a pattern of dishonesty.

Acevedo seems to be having second thoughts about the routine use of no-knock warrants and "dynamic entry" to execute search warrants in drug cases. "After I've had four officers shot and two suspects killed," he said, "we'll be tightening that up." Avoiding the destruction of evidence is usually cited as a reason for police to crash into homes without warning, as it was in this case. But "if somebody flushes all the evidence" because police have to knock and announce themselves, Acevedo observed, "you probably didn't have all that much evidence in there to start with." Or in some cases, none at all.

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195 responses to “C.I. Whose Heroin Buy Led to a Deadly Houston Drug Raid Does Not Seem to Exist

  1. So Felony murder for the cops?

    1. This.

      And where the Hell is the judge who got fooled? Surely that judge has a name, and it should be easily located on the warrant, which is public record.

      Sure, Acevedo can cling to his ‘reason to investigate’ All he wants What he can no longer hide is the lack of probable cause for the armed illegal intrusion into a private residence.

      1. And when he says reason to investigate, he of course thinks it’s perfectly fine to bust down the door and shoot the couple’s dog. Because even if the evidence is bullshit, you still have to be safe.

        1. Our civil rights and our continued existence are not important compared to a cop being safe.

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      2. I don’t see that the judge has any role in this other than probably getting a stack of warrants to sign every day. The primary purpose of the warrant signing, as I see it, is to force the applying cops to commit perjury, as seems to have happened here.

        The most the judge could have done was quiz the cop, and the cop would have committed the same perjury face to face; the judge had no further options except to hire his own private investigators to verify everything on every warrant.

        1. wat?

          Then what’s the point of a warrant application in the first place?

          1. Tell me a practical way for the judge to have prevented this.

            Cop submits a warrant application. It has a text which describes why. The judge has to rely on that as being presumptively accurate. Then he decides if that is grounds to issue the warrant.

            Unless the judge sees internal inconsistencies, or knows from his own knowledge that something is wrong (he lives in the neighborhood and knows there is no such address), what would you have him do? Have his own independent police to research every warrant?

            All it can be is grounds for a perjury trial. Nothing else is practical.

            1. This is correct. The judge assesses the affidavit in support of the warrant application, nothing more. If the judge deems it sufficient to establish probable cause that evidence of a crime may be found at the location, and what that evidence is, then the warrant will issue. Things like statements from a CI have to be taken at face value; their validity is for evidentiary hearings further on down the line. And in response to Lowdog, yes the judge has to sign the warrant. A stamped signature by a clerk would not suffice if the warrant were challenged for legal sufficiency. In most if not all jurisdictions, and I assume in this one, there is at least one judge on call 24 hours a day on a rotating basis for warrant purposes.

              1. The actual language calls for a “magistrate”, not a judge, and a magistrate can be any officer of the court. Including the Clerk of Courts in Lucas County, Ohio (Toledo) who issued warrants without probable cause affidavits because nobody had told her there needed to be one and which the Ohio Supreme Court ruled was just one of those things they’d let slide because it would just be too much of a hassle to invalidate all the many such warrants she had issued over such a long period of time before anybody bothered to notice she was issuing invalid warrants.

                1. Amazing how the State—or Wells Fargo, but I repeat myself—manage to get things like that written off as “scrivener’s errors”, or “constructively signed”, or a “good faith error.” Where if we do it, its forgery and a some-expenses-paid vacation to prison.

                2. Magistrates in Texas are sworn in as judges. They don’t preside over courts but commonly set bonds, sign warrants, and review probable cause in jails.

            2. When a cop submits a warrant, its supposed to come with a narrative laying out both facts and how those facts bring the officer to believe there will be evidence of a crime in a particular location and what particular evidence they expect to find.

              Judges who sign off on warrants that

              1. Don’t have that.

              2. Or don’t check up on their warrants to ensure that the facts alleged in the warrant are true – so they know which cops to take at their word and which cops are going to need to provide some corroborating evidence to the judge.

              are committing malpractice.

              Its not a matter of ‘cop submits warrant, judge signs off’. The judge can refuse even a properly formatted warrant at his discretion. Its why we give them that discretion.

              Its time to hold the judges accountable for abuses committed in their names.

              1. Explain how any judge can “ensure that the facts alleged in the warrant are true”. Are they supposed drive around and find all those places and people? Do they have their own police force, a crack squad of independent detectives?

                They can’t.

                1. They can require those facts to be stated – most don’t anymore – and be held accountable for signing a warrant without a sufficient narrative.

                  They can also, having required those facts be stated, then follow-up and see if those facts were true or not – and if not, then stop signing warrants brought by dishonest police officers.

              2. Explain how any judge can “ensure that the facts alleged in the warrant are true”. Are they supposed drive around and find all those places and people? Do they have their own police force, a crack squad of independent detectives?

                They can’t.

                1. Traditionally, being able to tell the difference between a lying witness and an honest witness was the main skill a judge needed. Now, judges get promoted based on their ability to redefine the word “is” depending on the party affiliation of the president facing perjury charges related to his sexual harassment trial.

              3. ^YES!
                These two people and their dog are dead on the warrant issued by the judge. I really don’t care about his workload: he approved a faulty warrant and innocent people are dead. At the very least, he should be named and shamed, held to account in the court of public opinion. Obviously, he has sovereign immunity.

              4. Magistrates can’t “ensure the facts alleged in a warrant are true” short of doing their own investigations outside purview of their offices. The duty is to the officer making the affidavit to be truthful.

            3. So the Judge is just a really expensive rubber stamp.

            4. The cops couldn’t even be bothered to find out the names of the residents of the house, even though Mr. Tuttle and Ms. Nicholas had lived there for two decades.

              The warrant application is crap.

              1. See below, Cato. I think at least one of the officers knew the residents, or at least their descriptions, else how’d the CI in their affidavit manage to get the description of Tuttle right? When we now know there never was a CI that approached the house?

                One of the cops copied Tuttle’s description from a public record, into the affidavit of the CI’s testimony, and attached that to the warrant application.

            5. Well, it certainly appears that the warrant request was light on details. If I were signing off I would want to see 1) a transcript of the call alleging that a woman was doing drugs at the property 2) actual details of the CI with none of this “anonymous” bullshit. It strikes me as severely messed up that nobody else on the force had access to any of the details in this case. How can one cop singlehandedly obtain a warrant without some sort of internal review process by a colleague? Seems like a recipe for abuse.

        2. You think the judge actually signs anything? I don’t know for sure, but I would bet that it’s a clerk with a stamp of the judge’s sig.

          1. No, I’m not certain that a judge actually signs the warrant.

            Although, if it does not require one in order for armed men to kick down your front door then the jurisdiction in question is treating the Constitution no different than toilet paper.

            More broadly my point is not that it is impossible to lie to a judge, just that under most circumstances when he finds out his usual response is to immediately come down on you like a ton of bricks.

            His current apparent silence needs questioning.

          2. Having recently been through probate on my mother’s estate I can definitely say that, at least in probate court, it’s a complete clusterfuck because when you need something signed it typically has to wait for that magic day when both the clerk and judge are in the office on the same day because the clerk, caveat – in my probate, was essentially witnessing the judge’s signature. Of course that’s about twice a month but probate is far different from the, no doubt easier, crim court.

            1. You aren’t the state. The cops are the agents of the state. The judge is an agent of the state. The state takes care of its own.

      3. Definitely need at least an investigation on the judge too. One officer’s testimony should no longer be considered valid evidence. There needs to be at least two independent investigatory officers to testify to the alleged fact with actual proven evidence and the “no knock” bullshit needs to die a rapid death on the alter of public safety and lying cops.

        1. There should be a damn high bar for no knock warrants.
          More than there’s drugs and a handgun present at the scene.

          1. From a confidential informant no less. Fuck that. Put the judge in jail too.

      4. The judge didn’t get fooled he just believed the cop because, cops never lie, right?

    2. Saw the news blurb earlier today, but life intervened before getting to post it here. Besides, I thought Sullum would add to his fine reporting about this travesty.

      I dunno about felony murder, but I wonder if manslaughter would be appropriate? Intentional disregard for the truth and whose actions were with complete indifference to the safety of the homeowners, and caused their deaths?

      Judicial immunity is probably going to prevent going after the judge that issued the warrant, but I’m cool with whatever criminal sanction can be levied against any and all of the cops that participated in the raid, or lied to obtain the warrant. It’s looking more and more like the cops were, at best, reckless and completely indifferent to whether the occupants of the raided home were dealing drugs, or whether the occupants would be treated in accordance with the law.

      1. Seems like all you’d have to show is even a slight conspiracy between Bryant and Goines and it would be premeditated first degree murder. Any cops who had caught two civilians so conspiring would have sweated it out of them by now, hospital or not, getting the two to snitch on each other.

        1. Isnt material false representation a felony? If so, using the all deaths in relation to a felony are murder and get him easily on murder.

          1. Works for me. I wouldn’t bet on it, but I wouldn’t hate the effort to. Never happen though.

          2. Yep, no felony no warrant, no warrant no raid, no raid no deaths.

            The raid was illegal. IMO everyone on that entry is guilty.

            The Nuremberg defense being no defense at all.

            1. Exactly. We need to see murder charges all the way around and the death penalty for a few.

              We have tolerated these crimes for long enough, it is time to make an example that will echo through every PD building in the nation.

        2. Under Texas law all you have to show is that someone was killed during the commission of other felonies.
          Since they had no real legal authority to enter the home they were committing felony burglary in which two people were killed.
          That’s felony murder.

      2. Two deaths were caused in the furtherance of other felonies.
        That makes it felony murder under Texas law.

        1. Remembering Waco?

    3. And possibly conspiracy charges for the chief.

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  2. One would think a judge signing off on a warrant under false pretenses would be pretty upset.

    1. One might, everyone else, no.

    2. Especially when that signature ended up making room temperature bodies.

      1. So now you’re implying judges hate lizards?!?

        1. It is known that judges hate lizards.

        2. Not just lizards, but all poikilotherms.

          😉

  3. If this is true Acevedo has to go.

    1. And that little union pimp.

    2. LOL at Acevedo going. If we’re very lucky, the son of a bitch won’t make it into the Houston Mayor’s office.

      Janet Reno got to burn down how many fake Satanist child molesters in Florida before she got to burn down the Branch Dividians for real? This won’t even cause Acevedo’s career to break stride. Unfortunately.

      Surprised they’re not having a medal awards ceremony for the shot officers.

      1. One of the best things to happen to Austin was Acevedo moving to Houston.

        1. Yep, I was relieved when he took his primping posturing self away.

      2. Wait for it.

  4. I said a couple of days ago the entire thing was made up. The story made no sense. If the guy said it was a drug house, then there was no reason to send him in. You send a cop in. And why would you send anyone in without a wire.

    People need to hang over this but everyone knows they won’t.

    1. Do you think the police should be able to no-knock raid anyone? If so, then isn’t them raiding the wrong person occasionally inevitable

      If not, then isn’t it fair to say that you think no one should ever be raided for any reason? Good for you but it puts lie to any claim you make to supporting anything short of police abolition.

      1. Yes, I don’t think police should be conducting no knock raids. I have stated on multiple occasions how stupid, unnecessary and dangerous they are.

        It is bad enough that you are dumb as a post. But what makes it much worse is that you are convinced you are smart and clever.

      2. Do you think the police should be able to no-knock raid anyone?

        I think the practice should be made illegal. Even if we take seriously the concerns of lost evidence, it’s just not worth the “went to the wrong address” stories alone, nevertheless “went to the right address, but under false pretense”, or “went to the right address, killed/maimed innocents on location” and so-on.

        If not, then isn’t it fair to say that you think no one should ever be raided for any reason?

        You do know that you can serve a warrant, and force entry if it isn’t respected, in daylight hours, right? There’s nothing about warrant-searches that means they have to be performed with flashbangs at midnight without reasonable warning or announcement.

        God, I’m defending John. I feel so dirty.

        1. From the article above…

          “Avoiding the destruction of evidence is usually cited as a reason for police to crash into homes without warning, as it was in this case.”

          War on drugs? Drugs flushed down toilet = enemy defeated. “War on drugs” is a lie! It is a “war on people”!!!

          Soylent drug-war Green = war on people!!! Be warned!!! (Government Almighty eating us all in the name of the “war on drugs”).

          Government Almighty, eat me!!!!!

        2. There used to be an old joke about Jewish refuseniks trying to make aliyah. The KBG knocks on a Jew’s apartment door in the middle of the night to deliver a letter from the Israeli embassy. The agent asks the Jew a long list of questions about the quality of life in the Soviet Union and receives the proper response to each question. Then he asks, “If everything is so wonderful in the Soviet Union, why do you want to move to Israel?” The refusenik says, “In Israel, the post office doesn’t deliver the mail at 3 am.”

          Any police department implementing no-knock raids or raids in the middle of the night needs to be replaced. The middle of the night is for resting, fun, and gang related activities only.

      3. No knock for *investigative* warrants – absolutely should be abolished. There is, literally, no justification for them.

        No knocks for *arrest* warrants – should be severely curtailed. And, frankly, I don’t trust the government to not abuse the privilege – and they do already – so yeah, they can go.

        The only reason to kick a door down without knocking politely but firmly first is that there’s violence happening in the location.

        1. And in that case, they don’t need a warrant. It’s an active crime scene.

      4. It is better than 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be killed in a no-knock raid.

      5. That is, by a country mile, the most retarded fucking thing I have ever seen you post.

  5. Thanks for keeping on this.

  6. On January 8, a woman called the Houston Police Department to complain that her daughter was “doing drugs” inside the house at 7815 Harding Street. “Her daughter was in the house, and there were guns and heroin,” Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a press conference three days after the raid.

    I hope the press is working to uncover the identity of this woman as well, and that the PD is investigating whether she had some unrelated grievance with the dead homeowners. Because it looks like she bears some liability for their deaths.

    1. You think she wanted her daughter dead?

      1. ^^^This. That was my thought also.

    2. The cops made the whole thing up. There is no woman you half wit.

      1. Can you ever respond to anyone without tagging an insult on to the end? You half wit.

        You couldn’t get squat right if they cut you off at the knees. You brainless zombie.

        You have no principles, one principal, are consistent only in being inconsistent, and have all the humor and wit of the IVF cross of Trump and Putin. You fucking moron.

        1. Arent you the one constantly following tulpa around posting non relevant snide comments against him?

          1. All that Tulpa ever does is post non relevant snide comments… He is the classic thread shitter. Those who defend him are trolls just like he-she-it is.

    3. Maybe read the article? She’s been identified as the dead woman’s mother.

      1. Yes! Thanx for reading the article!!!

        I wish moronic busy-bodies who think that “Government Almighty loves us all” would read shit like this and think twice!!! Don’t call the cops; all they know how to do is kill-kill-kill!!! (In too many cases at least).

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    4. This makes me think of that “SWATTING” case from a few months back.

      To argue she had liability for the deaths, as opposed to just liability for making a false report, you have to argue that it’s reasonable to expect police to invent evidence and recklessly attack a place without just cause based on a single report.

      Heck, this is even more simple then that SWATTING case, as the police didn’t even treat it like an emergency-response scenario, they took a few days to pretend to investigate and everything.

      So sure. “False report”. But the deaths? Nope.

      1. Based on the reporting, it doesn’t seem like it was a false report. The indication is that the mom is the one who called the police and said her daughter was doing drugs with the guy. So based on what we have read so far, here is what I think happened.

        1) Mom phones the police about the daughter constantly doing drugs.[1]

        2) This gets summarized and dispatched out to some beat cops to check into.

        3) The beat cops go do a quick look in, and summarize their report and forward it on to narcotics.

        4) The narcotics office reads the summary, and assigns a detective to work it.

        So you have a big game of telephone here, where the mom’s report is filtered through 3-5 different intermediaries before it ends up on a detective’s desk. It is highly possible that by the time the detective got the request, it was vague enough that he interpreted it as “this is a drug house.”

        Now the expected thing to do is for the detective to, you know, investigate. The detective is lazy. He fabricates the warrant application and moves forward. Likely he has done this many times before. It is just that in previous occasions there was no high profile shooting. Even if he was wrong on previous occasions, the presence of a small amount of drugs and no high profile deaths kept him doing his job. The system probably failed in many ways by getting an inaccurate report on the detective’s desk. But the detective ultimately (criminally) failed by being lazy.

        1. [1]: This should be a lesson to every parent out there. The last way to help your children is to bring the cops in. That is how you get your kids killed, or up on trumped up charges. It is a stupid, stupid thing to do.

        2. It might be even worse than just lazy. In the original story from the alleged informant, the informant’s description of the seller turned out to be really close to that of Mr. Tuttle. But we’re finding out that the informant never bought heroin from Tuttle. How to reconcile the discrepancy?

          We do know the original citizen complaint that started this mess came from Nicholas’s mother. From that the cops could get an address, do enough public records legwork to get Tuttle’s description, and plug that description into the made up warrant affidavit. But if the cop was willing to do that, he HAD to have also run both for priors. Where he would’ve found, like we did, that neither homeowner had a felony record, and neither had a drug record.

          And despite this, the worthless fucking piece of shit knowingly applied for a no-knock warrant, on a dwelling where he had to know the inhabitants weren’t crooks.

          This is far worse than a simple mistake of, “we hit the wrong house.” The affiant knew these two weren’t likely at all to be drug dealers, and raided their house anyway. Just utterly evil.

      2. . . . you have to argue that it’s reasonable to expect police to invent evidence and recklessly attack a place without just cause based on a single report.

        You would just show a large list of thousands upon thousands of cases over the last 40 years where the police have done exactly that. In fact, to *not* expect the police to tear the door down and come in shooting would mean you’re . . . developmentally challenged.

  7. investigators looking into the raid at 7815 Harding Street, the home of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, have been unable to identify the C.I.

    Well, get Acevedo to do it. He seems pretty fucking confident about all this.

  8. Sounds a lot like a Russian collusion investigation going on for the last 2 years…

    1. The mystery CI was none other Vladamir Putin. It’s not enough that he “stole our democracy” or whatever horse shit Rachel Madcow has been going on about, but now he’s hijacking our own judicial system to get random people killed in no-knock raids because… reasons.

  9. But he insisted that “we had reason to investigate that location,” and “the investigation continues to show that.”
    Um no. The investigation continues to show that 2 innocent people were murdered in cold blood by your thugs. The only bright spot in this tragic story is that a few of your Rambos got what they deserved possibly from a citizen protecting his wife and dog. More likely they just shot each other but I’ll take that karma either way. And thanks again Jacob for the update. This should be national headline news. But we’ve got a gay actor who claims Chicago is MAGA country so who gives a shit about a dead couple in Texas.

    1. More likely they just shot each other

      Cops do love the polish firing squad tactic.

      1. Hey now, they are not NYPD

        1. What color is the boathouse at Hereford!?

          1. Fantastic reference

          2. Heresford (the town) had a brown & white boathouse and a red boathouse for the rowing club.
            The SAS HQ near Heresford does not have a boathouse.
            It’s a trick question used to out SAS poseurs. (Don’t tell anyone.)

      2. Cops do love the polish firing squad tactic.

        Speaking of guns and Jews, it looks like someone’s been reading my comments about gun control on Reason. I’ve always been good at teaching science, provided my students are motivated to learn. This week, I taught my friend a fun fact about chutzpah. If you see my friend in Brooklyn, please buy him a meal. They don’t feed him enough at that homeless shelter.

    2. A report of drug use does in fact provide a reason to investigate that location. The problem is that the cops obviously didn’t investigate that location, given that they never even bothered to find out the names of the people who lived there, they just charged in and started shooting.

    3. It’s already well established that at least some of these cops are liars, but their story is that the ‘suspect’:
      – Shot 5 of their raid team
      – During a suprise raid
      – In the middle of the night
      – With a 6-shot, .38 revolver

      If all of that is true, he’s one hell of a shot. We’re talking James Bond / Wyatt Earp levels of marksmanship here under some extremely poor conditions for accurate shooting.

      Or:
      -As soon as the cops heard gunfire, they all panicked, emptied their magazines, and negligently hit some of their buddies

  10. …he insisted that “we had reason to investigate that location,” and “the investigation continues to show that.”

    *sniff, sniff* I smell bullshit.

    1. “*sniff, sniff* I smell bullshit.”

      Yeah, it’s piled high enough that it leaks right through the screen.

  11. A confidential informant at the Crime Lab informs me a bug fell into the printer at the no-knock warrant was printing. The thing was supposed to read Dennis Buttle on Hardy Street. It would appear that Mr Buttle, excuse me, Tuttle is what the Politicians and Police Union refer to as a “crimeless victim.” Records has him down as “closed”, Expediting has him down as “dispatched”, Information Retrieval has him down as “exhausted”, and “Financial” is upset because the refund check is made out to his late wife who is also crimeless, closed, dispatched, exhausted and dead.

    1. This really is does remind one of the movie Brazil.

  12. Can we just accept the cops were acting in good faith and put this whole unfortunate incident behind us? It seems we’re forgetting that five uniformed officers received injuries from a gun-crazed maniac!

    1. Well at least they didn’t get home safe that night. For that we can all be grateful.

  13. Contract hit?

    1. If by contact, you mean union contract, appears to be so.

  14. Jesus fucking Christ, this story. I thought they’d at least used an actual CI who was telling cops what they wanted to hear. The fact that he’s completely nonexistent is another level of corruption.

    What’s worse, didn’t they tell the judge that this information had provided several prior good leads leading to drug busts? Every conviction that’s connected to the officers involved in this raid needs to immediately vacated. What a shitshow.

    1. Good point.

    2. “What’s worse, didn’t they tell the judge that this information had provided several prior good leads leading to drug busts?”

      Yes, that would be boilerplate verification of the CI’s history and reliability. The officers do not have to provide any specifics of such leads, although I suspect that in Houston from now on, and especially in front of this judge from now on, such details will be required. At least for a while.

  15. I would never advocate violence, but if something bad were to happen to Acevedo, that judge, or any of those fine officers, it would be a damn shame.

    1. Why the judge? What could he have done to prevent this?

      1. He could have called bullshit on the alleged CI, and refused to sign the warrant until the CI was brought to the court to testify in person, so his credibility could be assessed.
        That’s what he could have done to prevent this.

        Just like that damn FISA judge could have saved the feds a gazilion dollars by asking “hey, wait a minute; did Hillary pay for this?”

        1. That’s pointless. There has to be an assumption somewhere that someone is telling the truth. That’s why it is, or at least should be, perjury to lie on the warrant application.

          Do you really expect a fucking mini-trial for every warrant, with witnesses and sworn testimony and cross examination? Where are you going to get the warrants for that intrusion into, and disruption of, people’s lives?

          1. Hmm. A search warrant, especially a no- knock warrant, is one of the most powerful tools in the government oppression tool kit. Mini trials may not be appropriate before they are issued, but there should be at least some scrutiny, not the automatic issuance that seems to be what happens today in most of America.

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          2. Given that cops lie to judges with impunity to get permission to kill innocent people – over fucking drugs – yeah.

            A mini-trial with every warrant application.

            None of these people deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore. And if it causes issues – then maybe the police forces could ‘prioritize’ on real crimes and stop clogging the courts up with bullshit dealer busts.

            What do you want? For the police to be able to do whatever they want? Do you really think that they’re ‘good, honest, hardworking’ people who are ‘doing their best in difficult circumstances’ and so the rest of us should just stand back and let them tyrranize us ‘because teh criminals are worse’?

            Because its starting to be hard to see how the criminals could be worse.

          3. So far, I see little to no truth in any behavior before, during, or after the raid.

      2. The incompetent son-of-a-bitch could have told them to find out who was in the house. The “suspects” were unnamed in the warrant. The stupid judge signed off on a para-military raid on a house that could have had five kids in it.

        The fucking judge should assume the cops are incompetent and make them prove otherwise. The judge is supposed to be moderately intelligent, adult supervision for the goons on the police force. That’s the whole purpose of requiring a warrant.

    2. The judge was merely acting in a ministerial capacity. He has no culpability here

      1. I said it would be a shame. I’m sure the judge is a stand up guy or gal.

      2. He signed a warrant authorizing no-knock service, based on one buy by a CI, with no corroboration besides some undercover’s statement that he watched the buy happen from down the street. No corroboration of nearly every thing mentioned with specificity in the application.

        To hell with the judge. If all it takes to obtain a warrant from a magistrate is mere recitation of some magic legal incantation, why have judges examining warrant applications at all?

        1. A warrant yes, a no knock warrant absolutely not.

          1. I don’t think that level of PC should even be sufficient for a search warrant served in a non-dynamic manner. It’s the 21st century. You can’t get video or audio of your guy doing the buy? Never mind the utter bullshit they claimed the CI said about how much dope was in the house. You can’t do more than one buy? You don’t have an explanation for who owns the place? Or why they come back as Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public?

            Either the 4th Amendment in one’s home means something or it doesn’t. There isn’t a “but drugs” exception to the Constitution in the plain text, and it’s horrible that we’ve read one into it.

            1. I’m sure the judge-suckers here argue that a thorough review of each warrant application would take too long. Then judges ought to approve fewer warrants if they’re nothing but a rubber stamp. Or, maybe, the judges should be replaced by a computer that will probably do a better job anyway than the feckless judges are doing right now at determining probable cause. Or, maybe the 4th amendment ought to be repealed so we can quit pretending that the government exists to secure our rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

          2. Not even a knock-and-announce warrant.

            If you can’t even find out who is living at the house – then you simply don’t know enough to be able to say with any certainty that you’ll find evidence of a crime there.

    3. The Fine Officers were shot so there’s that.

  16. …Acevedo said the department is reviewing his cases to see if there has been a pattern of dishonesty.

    …that can’t be easily covered up.

    1. HPD= Houston’s Pattern of Dishonesty. As the victim of a videoed assault a few years back by a delivery driver to a business owned by a former HPD officer, I can tell you that it’s corruption and dishonesty all the way down.

  17. CI = copper’s instinct

  18. I don’t know why the cops would lie. imo this was a good shoot.

    1. It was indeed. Five officers with a six shot wheel gun.

    2. The list of things that “[You] don’t know” is long and varied.

  19. The judge bears some responsibility here. The story regarding the CI is simply not plausible: He showed up unannounced at the home of two drug dealers who’s identities he did not know and who did not know him. They let him into the house, let him see their stash, and then sold him herion. It’s not even plausible that a police officer would put a CI up to this plan without some reference to vouch for him. No CI would agree to it either. You wouldn’t expect the guy to survive, much less successfully make a buy.
    The judge really should have required more details on the CI and the identities of the homeowners.

    1. Or what lou wrote.

      We don’t expect judges to double check everything in a warrant affidavit or application with their own investigatory unit, but damn it, the story in the application has to be a little plausible! I don’t know if the last election had anything to do with this, but Harris County pretty much turned over every single judicial and District Attorney position from R to D. Maybe the judge was new, naive, and inexperienced enough that this story, which I was calling bullshit on pretty much the night of the shooting, was somehow plausible to him/her?

      1. When a judge comes to think you or I might have lied to him his first response is often a bench warrant for your sorry ass. Followed by a face to face, and then a cell pending your perjury charge unless you offer a darn good story.

        They are supposed to serve as a check, not an accomplice.

        1. I’ve not practiced law. But I have plenty of friends who have. And other friends working in the criminal justice system. There’s “lying” to a judge, and then there’s the universally accepted incantations of criminal justice like, “plain view,” “I noticed an odor of xyz as I approached the vehicle,” “through my years of experience, I determined the bulge was, a weapon, contraband, whatever…”

          All lies, and everyone knows they’re lies, but those don’t matter for some reason.

  20. OMG that dumb bitch got her daughter murdered.

    1. Anybody checked if there was life insurance?

      1. I would think that the mother of a 59 year old who would probably be pushing 80 would never have considered it would end this way. But tbh I really don’t think that the mom called. I wouldn’t be surprised if that part were true but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t. Either way, an 80 year old woman would probably have full faith that the cops would somehow save her middle-aged daughter from the evil drugs. And by evil drugs, I mean marijuana because, if she is anything like my mom was, there is no worse drug on the face of the earth.

        1. Marihuana is a Schedule I narcotic drug just like heroin and LSD.

          My 90 yo mother-in-law knows this is stupid, but lots of geezers don’t.

          1. True; and yet the law is clear, schedule one drugs must meet criteria that include having no medicinal uses.
            Seem to me certain federal officials are in violation of the law by not changing that schedule one classification.

  21. Nothing will happen to this piece of shit., He will be allowed to retire wirh a full pension .
    Cheer when cops are shot in the face

  22. Acevedo observed, “you probably didn’t have all that much evidence in there to start with.”

    My face when: https://imgur.com/H6AK0NY

  23. Just collateral damage in the Drug War.

  24. If the officer lied to get this no knock search warrant then the officer might should face murder by law officer charge. That is he use law officers to murder these two people.

  25. “dynamic entry”

    Pretty sure that a PR agency was hired to come up with that.

    1. Sounds better than “shoot your dog and throw flash grenades in a toddler’s crib”

  26. The judge should have raised an eyebrow at the CI’s name being listed as Fuzzy Dunlop.

  27. “I’ve had four officers shot and two suspects killed”

    Fuck you, chief. The correct way of describing the situation is, “My department shot two innocent people in cold blood and four officers were also shot.” Followed by ritual harikari.

    1. A nice thing about Japan, is that the acceptance of responsibility, and along with it grief, censure, loss, and at times suicide, is all too real for decision makers.

      On the flip side, given what I know of the Japanese justice system, they’d have found that the deceased couple managed to confess they were a major heroin supplier, just before dying.

      I like your characterization of the events.

      1. Actually, I messed up the the characterization.

        The chief should have said, “”My department shot and killed two innocent people and their family dog in cold blood. Four officers were also shot.”

        1. “And now I will resign and shoot myself in the parking garage.”

  28. There are still lots of questions if there’s a sentient press in Houston:

    1) No handguns were listed in inventory of items seized. How does this square with your report that Mr. Tuttle shot your officers with a .357 revolver?
    2) No ammunition was listed in the inventory. If these were armed dope dealers, they’d have ammunition for their firearms. How do explain this absence?
    3) What are the results of the toxicological assay from the autopsies of Mr. Tuttle and Ms. Nicholas?
    4) Two innocent Houstonians, who your officers couldn’t even be bothered to name when they applied for a no-knock warrant, were shot and killed by your police department. When are you going to call in the Texas Rangers to investigate the corruption and incompetence that your police department demonstrated during this raid?

    The judge who signed off on the warrant should also be named and shamed.

    1. Where is Chuck Norris when you need him?

    2. The revolver’s in ballistics, not available to be seized as inventory from the search.

      The ammo is a good point. What kind of Texans are these people?

      I’ll take weed on both, and chemo drugs on the one fighting off cancer. No smack. No cocaine (my guess is the bag of ‘white powder’ was something innocuous, and shitty field test kits are once again proving their worth.)

      Should’ve been done already—I think it’s de rigueur for Texas OISs, but I’m not sure—not that the Rangers are as infallible these days as their rep would lead you to believe. Still a better chance of the truth than whatever Houston/Harris County is going to come up with. For one thing, the Rangers won’t be faced with paying out on a section 1983 suit.

      1. As for judges, never thought I’d say this, but I miss the crackhead. Pity he thought his position was instead a bully pulpit to bitch about the death penalty.

  29. Since there was no real evidence of a crimes being committed by the two murdered people, should we still be referring to them as “suspects”? There has to be a crime committed and since there was no heroin or purchase of heroin, journalists and HPD should just drop that word and call them what they are, victims.

    1. “Since there was no real evidence of a crimes being committed by the two murdered people”

      Unless you count the possession of controlled substances that they were committing.

      1. Should we say that a person killed by an burglar is not a victim but a suspect because he has a joint in his house? The search warrant listed an unnamed “suspect” of selling heroin. It turns out they had 15 grams of pot (oh, the humanity!) and a white substance that I keep seeing conflicting reports about but they were not dealing heroin. That makes them victims and not suspects.

      2. Oh yes, possession of controlled substances in user quantities justifies summary execution of the dog, the woman who tried to disarm the dog-killer, and the husband who was outraged by the killing of his dog and wife.

        Let us go medieval. “Kill them all. Let God sort the innocent from the guilty.” (Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.) – Arnaud Amalric, Massacre at B?ziers, 1209

        1. Naaman Brown|2.17.19 @ 12:01PM|#

          “Oh yes, possession of controlled substances in user quantities justifies summary execution of the dog, the woman who tried to disarm the dog-killer, and the husband who was outraged by the killing of his dog and wife.”

          Yes, this is actually what James believes. Cops do no wrong in his eyes.

  30. Here’s a pretty good article in Houston Chronicle about Goines. Here.

    A competitive power lifter … with a history of lethal road rage and allegations of fabricating evidence … multiple shootings, in fact; some rather dubious.

    1. This guys sure seems like to shoot and be shot at. I’m pretty straight-laced but this has me wondering if there is some kind of fetish where people get off by being in gun fights. I’m too afraid to google it because 1) there probably is and 2) I might see things I just don’t want to see.

  31. Understand, guys and gals, this could happen to you in the next five minutes.

    Sorry doesn’t cut it when innocent people die. All of the people involved in this need to be brought to trial.

    In truth, every one of them from the judge on down should save us the trouble, get their affairs in order and then do the honorable thing. Seppuku needs to come back in style.

  32. Here’s a pretty good article in Houston Chronicle about Goines. Here.

    A competitive power lifter … with a history of lethal road rage and allegations of fabricating evidence … multiple shootings, in fact; some rather dubious.

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  37. I hope her mom has a nice Mother’s Day.

  38. Put a positive spin on it.

    It’s DEFINITELY not a drug house now.

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  43. _The police implied the Tuttle couple had a surveillance system. “A lot of drug houses have surveillance systems that are better than businesses.” — HPD Chief Acevedo. Results of the examination of their surveillance system was promised.

    OK.
    _Was there a surveillance system in the Tuttle home?
    _If there was, what did it show?

  44. I don’t see how this can be anything but felony murder.
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  46. “Acevedo said the department is reviewing his cases to see if there has been a pattern of dishonesty”.
    Translation; We’re going to ‘investigate ‘ ourselves and cover up anything that we neglected to cover up already.

    1. HPD is corrupt from the top down. They’ll cover up their part but throw Goines under the bus as a sacrifice. And then, of course, there is going to be denial that anyone in the department could have known that anything deceitful was going on with this One Bad Cop. The rest of the world knows that for one cop to be bad for this long, it takes the knowledge and support of the entire department.

      1. And Goines’ nomination for Cop of the Year will be pulled.

  47. Magistrate Kelli needs to be held accountable for the death squad she sent to slaughter those people.

    1. The search warrant appears to have been signed by Municipal Court Judge Gordon G Marcum II.

      I am sure he sleeps soundly every night, confident that he is doing his lord’s work.

      1. Warrant has been scrubbed from scribd, but can be found here.

      2. You may be correct. Th
        The names of judges in cases like these should always be made known.

  48. I’ve gone from outraged, to exasperated, to sad at these stories. The next step, unfortunately, is probably resigned acceptance. I hope I don’t get there.

    Maybe I need a dose of a Radley Balko nut punch.

  49. IIRC, Harris county is where cops believe they are totally justified in raping women on the side of the road, because their pig instincts alerted them to non existent doobies.
    Whatever happened with that?

  50. Sounds like a cop had a score to settle or a mouth to shut. Hopefully he is prosecuted and convicted.

  51. “”we’ll be tightening that up.” ”

    Next time we’ll just destroy the house before we go in to make sure none of our officers get shot conducting their illegal raid.

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  53. Amazingly, in Texas a few years ago a man was the subject of a no-knock raid and shot a deputy to death before realizing it was the cops. He lived and was acquitted, which almost never happens.

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