War on Drugs

After Deadly Drug Raid on His Watch, Houston's Top Cop Lists Reforms, Praises Himself

Art Acevedo plans to limit no-knock raids and give narcotics officers body cameras but wants credit for not covering up a cop's search warrant lies.



Today Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo updated a city council committee on the reforms he is implementing in response to the January 28 drug raid that killed a middle-aged couple, Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, in their home on Harding Street. The changes, outlined by Houston Chronicle reporter St. John Barned-Smith, are aimed at limiting the use of no-knock search warrants and expanding the use of body cameras, goals that Acevedo had previously announced.

Gerald Goines, a Houston narcotics officer, obtained the no-knock warrant in this case from a municipal court judge based on a false claim that a confidential informant had bought heroin from Tuttle. When they executed the warrant, Goines and his colleagues burst into the house without warning and immediately shot one of the couple's dogs, setting off an exchange of fire that killed the residents and injured four officers. Police found no heroin or any other evidence of drug dealing in the house.

From now on, Acevedo said, officers who want to conduct a no-knock search will have to get clearance from him or a supervisor he designates and apply to a district court judge rather than a municipal court judge. Only SWAT officers will be allowed to execute such warrants. When narcotics officers search homes, they will knock and announce themselves, and they will be supervised by a lieutenant.

They also will be wearing body cameras, the absence of which has made it harder to figure out what happened during the operation that killed Tuttle and Nicholas. Heretofore the Houston Police Department (HPD) has focused on equipping patrol officers with body cameras, on the grounds that they have the most interactions with the public. Under the new policy, narcotics officers will wear and activate cameras whenever they serve search warrants.

The HPD, the Harris County District Attorney's Office, and the FBI are continuing to investigate the Harding Street raid. Goines is likely to face criminal charges for lying in his search warrant affidavit, which is aggravated perjury under state law and seems to violate a federal statute making it a felony to violate people's constitutional rights under color of law. Local prosecutors are reviewing some 1,400 cases in which Goines was involved, plus 800 or so handled by Steve Bryant, a narcotics officer who was mentioned in the warrant affidavit and participated in the raid.

"We have got a lot of eyes, assets, folks from multiple agencies conducting investigations into the Harding Street raid," Acevedo told city council members. In a recent interview with KPRC, the NBC station in Houston, he said he expects Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg to announce her findings by the end of April.

Acevedo repeatedly patted himself on the back during that interview. "When I got to that scene," he said, "some things made my antennae go up a little bit, including the fact that we lost two individuals in the home…four officers shot and another one injured. To be honest with you, I was actually asking for the search warrant and affidavit at the scene, which really ruffled some feathers. But for a police chief that actually knows what he is doing and is engaged, we wouldn't be having a conversation about the things that we might have done wrong in that raid…This police chief is the one that asked the tough questions."

In reality, Acevedo at first credulously accepted the accounts of the officers who conducted the raid, as you will see if you go back and review the first few press conferences he conducted. He praised the heroism of the officer he now says lied to justify the raid, reported Goines' account of a controlled buy that never happened as fact, blamed Tuttle and Nicholas for the violence initiated by police, described their home as a locally notorious "drug house" and "problem location," claimed neighbors were grateful for the raid (although all the neighbors who spoke to local reporters said they'd never noticed any suspicious activity at the house), expressed skepticism about the value of body cameras and the special risks posed by no-knock searches, and reacted angrily to the suggestion that officers might have been injured by friendly fire, even though the revolver Tuttle reportedly fired at them held just six rounds.

It was not until February 15, after information about HPD's investigation of the raid was leaked to the press, that Acevedo revealed the search warrant had been obtained under false pretenses. Even then, he insisted that the investigation of Tuttle and Nicholas was justified and continued to call them "suspects."

"You and other members of your department have made factually incorrect, but globally disseminated, statements about Rhogena Nicholas and her husband, Dennis Tuttle, from the date of their deaths and going forward," an attorney for Nicholas' family wrote to Acevedo this week. "These statements have not been publicly corrected or retracted to date."

In an interview with the Chronicle, Nicholas' mother said her daughter was not involved in drug dealing, "respected the police," and would have cooperated if the officers had knocked on the door and identified themselves. "I want them to clear her name," she said.

Nicholas' brother told the Chronicle he still hopes Acevedo will set the record straight. "Maybe they'll wake up and say, 'We messed up and we need to change our ways of doing things,'" he said. "Clear her name. And hopefully, it won't happen again."

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  1. It's a good thing they have a police chief like Avocado here, rather than an incompetent blowhard.

    1. Who knows what might have happened if there'd been a police chief in there who was willing to put up with bad behavior by his officers?

      1. You mean like Avocado on every day before?

        Yeah, I wonder too.

    2. According to Acevedo, if a woman is carrying a gun, it will be taken from her and used to kill her. It would be better if she were a sexual assault survivor instead!

      Acevedo taking heat online for comments on 'Campus Carry'

      "We potentially are turning sexual assault victims -- that we have a lot of resources to help these young people...turn into survivors through our victims services and so forth into potentially...murder victims," Acevedo said.

      Senator Brian Birdwell, the author of the Campus Carry bill questioned him on that.

      "Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounded as if you said you would rather have a woman go through rape survival counseling than murder recovery," Birdwell said.

      Acevedo was quick to correct the Senator.

      "I don't want a woman to end up...not just a sex assault victim...but ends up being murdered with her own firearm because they haven't put in the training, the retention, the weapons retention," Acevedo said.

      1. "Take my officers, crack team. They've been trained. They can kill a young couple and a dog in like... like no time flat. That kind of training!"

        1. And probably shoot each other while they're doing it too.

      2. When he talks about them becoming murder victims, he's probably right....that is, after his thugs show up and wantonly fire at the woman who had just defended her self and called in the clean up crew. Leave it to America's finest pieces of shit to make the streets just, oh so safe for us plebs.

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    4. Acevedo smells a lot like Scott Israel.

  2. Meh. He may have beclowned himself at first but more cops should follow his lead on this.

    1. "...but wants credit for not covering up a cop's search warrant lies."

      Also I want the full, due credit coming my way, for NOT putting a turd in my boss's chair!!!

  3. Goines is likely to face criminal charges for lying in his search warrant affidavit...

    This kind of behavior doesn't happen without the workplace culture inviting it or without at least tacit approval from supervisors.

    1. But sadly the death penalty will likely be off the table even in Texas.

    2. That's why all the cops in HPD are dirty. If they're not actively being dishonest, they're covering up for those who are.

  4. End the un Constitutional war on drugs.

    This is a direct order.

    That is all.

    1. Aye Aye, sir!

      1. OK, then, a public-health campaign against addiction. Let's start by going after those doctors who prescribe opioids to wimpy patients who can't take a little pain.

  5. no knock raids are a prescription for disaster, as this one turned out to be.

    When is a no knock raid justified? I can't think of a scenario.

    1. When the criminal is in an open air ramada or a teepee.

  6. There wasn't an exchange of gunfire you moron. The cops shot each other. You also didn't mention Tuttle cried for help for ten minutes and then after 2 hours a SWAT officer shot him 1 to 3 times through a window. If he was still alive that's straight up murder.

        1. I hope the eye witness described in the video is willing to go on record. In any case it is obvious that the cover up is continuing.

  7. Procedures were followed and now there will be other procedures to be followed. Blessed be the name of the procedures.

    1. *checks Bible*

      "And upon Mount Sinai, the Lord bestowed unto Moses the 130,000 regulations"

      Yep, checks out.

  8. "...Praises Himself"

    Well, no one else will.

  9. If you want people to change, you have to reward the behavior you want.

  10. Glad his antenna went up at 2 people being murdered.

  11. "Maybe they'll wake up and say, 'We messed up and we need to change our ways of doing things,'"

    Not fucking likely in this universe.

  12. Acevafuckhead could still benefit from my patent pending homeopathic Woodchipper conversion therapy. Success guaranteed!

  13. I say he should be praised for not lying. Obviously, lying and covering up for other officers' lies is the expected behavior among police officers.

    He chose to tell the truth instead. If more police would act like Art Acevedo and tell the truth instead of lying and engaging in coverups, it would go a long way toward solving the huge societal problem we have in the US with rogue police.

    1. If a company president admitted that one of his subordinates dumped chemical waste in the river,* after initially being in denial and saying the subordinate was some sort of hero, would the cops be fawning all over the company president thanking him for not lying?

      *For the purpose of this hypothetical, let's assume the company president isn't an influential figure in the community.

    2. Well he lied at first, and then stopped lying, but without acknowledging his previous lies or bothering to correct himself.

  14. "To be honest with you,"

    Still waiting for that.

    1. Why can't he just say: "Hold tight, I'm about to lie right to your stupid face."

  15. He should resign is disgrace and be grateful we don't require

    1. Wow what formatting gods did I piss of this week?

  16. How about putting a hat on the president of the police union. He wipes his ass with the First Amendment.

  17. The cop committed murder, he should ride the needle

    The head cop was an accomplice, he should go to prison.

    The Huston PD are a group of bast--ds.

    BDS Huston

  18. So let's see, the aggravated perjury (which is a felony) led to the raid, which led to the exchange of gunfire, which led to the deaths of two innocents and five injured police officers.

    Felony murder charges need to be on the table here. The commission of his felony caused the sequence of events that resulted in their deaths, and they would be alive if he had not lied to get that warrant. First degree charges with Texas' Death Penalty on the table.

    The only way I'd let him plea out is he flips on his narc buddies to prove that they were also perjuring affidavits. And he can only plea down to Murder 2.

  19. The chief should award himself another star for his collar in appreciation of his heroic reforms.

  20. These criminal cops have a lot of nerve praising themselves for their gestapo tactics. They don't do this shit where I live. The cops know they would have a firefight in almost every home they attack.

    1. It's kind of the same in Texas but my feeling is that the cop who lied to get the no-knock warrant has some kind of shoot out fetish based on his history.

  21. Evidence destruction must be the main reason for no-knock warrants. I think breaking into anyone's home unannounced would be dangerous. If they're worried about someone flushing drugs, there's an easy fix.

    Turn off their water at 4AM, by 6 or so someone will have flushed the toilet and figured out the water wasn't working. When they call the water department, the call the police and now nobody can flush anything....

  22. The photo that accompanies this piece of Acevedo: Those 4 stars on his lapels indicating a military rank of general....THAT tells you all you need to know about this character. The only thing missing that would complete the package is a campaign hat.

    You will trust this guy at your peril, ESPECIALLY if you've done nothing wrong.

  23. We could always figure out what caused addiction.

    Dr. Lonny Shavelson found that 70% of female heroin addicts were sexually abused in childhood. http://powerandcontrol.blogspo.....eroin.html

    Addiction is a symptom of PTSD. Look it up.

  24. I'm still waiting to hear how many officers were actually shot by Tuttle. My feeling is it wasn't all of them or even any of them because no one is talking about it. If Tuttle had been the one who shot them, we would have heard all the details.

    It seems rather unbelievable that someone in the back of the house who is surprised by body-armor-wearing people breaking in the front of the house and shooting the dog would have the wherewithal to aim accurately and shoot that many people in places where they weren't covered by body armor. It seems much more plausible that all the extra cops outside started a barrage and hit their own men. Someone one needs to get the details.

  25. I'd like to know why this cop is not being charged with first-degree murder. He committed a crime by lying to a judge to get a search warrant which means he should be charged with first-degree murder.

  26. Chief Lies a Lot should have been fired. Nothing short.

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  29. "Goines is likely to face criminal charges for lying in his search warrant affidavit, which is aggravated perjury under state law."

    Doesn't Texas have a felony murder law?

  30. Assevedo ran a thuggish department in Austin and has now graduated to patting himself on the back for murder in Houston

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