Six More Houston Cops Involved In Deadly Drug Raid Are Now Facing Criminal Charges

from the looks-like-'judged-by-12'-it-is dept

We still haven't seen an end to the fallout resulting from a botched (and bogus) drug raid in Houston that ended with two residents killed by police officers. It also ended with five officers wounded -- one of them paralyzed. The raid was predicated on false statements made by Officer Gerald Goines, who secured permission from a judge to perform a no-knock raid, claiming the residents were armed and selling heroin.

While guns were recovered, no heroin was. Indeed, no evidence of drug dealing was recovered -- just personal amounts of marijuana and cocaine. The informant that supposedly made the heroin buy never existed and the supposed result of this controlled buy was actually heroin pulled from an officer's squad car. All of Goines' lies led to two deaths and five injured officers. Goines is currently facing a slew of charges, including two counts of felony murder.

Other participants in the raid are facing charges as well. KHOU reports six more Houston PD officers have been indicted for their involvement in the raid or for other criminal acts they engaged in while working in the department's narcotics unit.

On Monday, a Harris County grand jury indicted another officer for murder and five others for engaging in criminal activity.

The six officers indicted Monday are in addition to the six officers who have already been indicted.

Felix Gallegos, the officer charged with murder, fired the shot that killed Dennis Tuttle, according to court documents.

That's 12 officers, all under indictment, and all involved in the drug raid. Following the ill-fated raid, the Houston PD investigated its own narcotics unit, "discovering" that it had been given free rein for years. Paperwork routinely went unreviewed and unapproved. And that's when there was any case-related paperwork to be found. In some cases, no warrants were filed. In others, supporting documents were missing. Multiple discrepancies in evidence and expense reporting were also uncovered. This hands-off approach is directly responsible for the travesty the Houston PD calls a "narcotics unit."

And it's this hands-off approach that's led to the charges facing five of these recently indicted officers -- all accused of falsifying records to obtain pay for overtime hours they apparently didn't work. Some of this has been going on for a long time, which means the resulting sentences will be longer, too. Three officers are facing hefty felony charges for this time theft, ones that carry with them a maximum sentence of life in prison:

Oscar Pardo – (HPD) Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, to wit: Aggregate Theft by a Public Servant ($30,000 or more but less than $150,000) and Tampering with a Governmental Record (1st degree)

Cedell Lovings – (Status Unclear) Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, to wit: Aggregate Theft by a Public Servant ($30,000 or more but less than $150,000) and Tampering with a Governmental Record (1st degree)

Nadeem Ashraf – (HPD) Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, to wit: Aggregate Theft by a Public Servant ($30,000 or more but less than $150,000) and Tampering with a Governmental Record (1st degree)

Two more officers -- Clemente Reyna and Thomas Wood -- have had identical theft charges added to the charges they're already facing for their participation in the drug raid.

And another two officers are facing lesser theft charges, but ones that still carry potential 20-year sentences. Five of these officers retired as soon as it became clear they might face criminal charges. The other seven are apparently still employed, though that will likely change now that they're under indictment.

There was a lot of trust to go around in the Houston Police Department. Not a lot of verification, though. It took the senseless killing of two harmless Houston residents to force the PD to take a look at what its officers were doing. And it's probably going to take several criminal trials to force the PD to actually care about officer accountability so it doesn't get to the point of felony murder charges and hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegally obtained paychecks before the PD can be bothered to police its own.

This isn't the final postscript on this horrific incident. There will certainly be more to come, what with a dozen officers facing the possibility of a trial and the PD forced to provide what will certainly be damning information in response to discovery requests.

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Filed Under: criminal charges, drug raid, gerald goines, houston, no knock raid, police


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Feb 2021 @ 8:00pm

    'You can't touch me, I'm on base!'

    Five of these officers retired as soon as it became clear they might face criminal charges.

    If the prosecutors don't continue to go after them just the same as when they were employed they'll have shown that the desire isn't justice or cleaning house but merely going through the motions. Leaving a job does not in any way erase what you did while you were on it, and if they committed crimes while employed they absolutely deserve to face the penalties for that, 'retirement' or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Feb 2021 @ 8:20pm

      If the prosecutors don't continue to go after them just the same as when they were employed they'll have shown that the desire isn't justice or cleaning house but merely going through the motions.

      A similar idea applies to Senate Republicans.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Upstream (profile), 2 Feb 2021 @ 5:02am

      Re: 'You can't touch me, I'm on base!'

      Yes! Far too often being fired, resigning, or retiring early is considered "punishment enough" for government officials accused or found guilty of criminal activity. It is nothing of the sort.

      Government officials should at least be held to the same standards as the rest of us, and be subjected to trials, and fines and/or imprisonment as appropriate, just as any of us would be.

      There is also a strong argument to be made that government officials should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us, since they are entrusted with positions of power and authority that the rest of us do not have. With this additional power and authority should come commensurate additional responsibility. This would translate into higher fines and longer prison sentences upon conviction of crimes.

      It could also mean that public officials be subject to lower standards of evidence, or "proof" for certain categories of wrongdoing that may not be applicable to the rest of us.

      There are already three primary standards our legal system uses: beyond a reasonable doubt, preponderance of the evidence and clear and convincing evidence. There is no reason why lower standards of proof, or evidence, should not be used when considering wrongdoing by government officials, and several very good reasons why they should be used.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Feb 2021 @ 5:03am

      Re: 'You can't touch me, I'm on base!'

      Yep, it's like the people whining that Trump should have his impeachment trial annulled because he's no longer in office. Sorry, if you committed a crime, then it should be prosecuted, no matter what you did after the fact.

      Especially with people like these cops - if you have the power to ruin other peoples' lives and careers with false drug charges, then your own career status should have no bearing on whether you're prosecuted for your own lawbreaking in the process.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2021 @ 6:50am

      Re: 'You can't touch me, I'm on base!'

      The retirement was to protect the pension. Getting fired with cause removes pension benefits. Hopefully the pension system there provides a way to revoke it if a court finds the pension was fraudulently obtained, for example by inflating hours worked.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 2 Feb 2021 @ 10:39am

      Re: 'You can't touch me, I'm on base!'

      Aint it wonderful?
      All the taxes we pay that are for checks and balance, and someone to monitor Different sections of our state and fed..

      Disappeared? went away? How long ago??
      State attorney generals, and Sheriffs, who do we call?
      There is/was a report awhile back and its continuing, about HOW sending in Police complaints Can be dangerous.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-Rcfz_Urrc

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J99eJK0Yuh8

      h ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfLwdyMbSHE

      Always love the discontinuity of Wanting Citizens to be truthful and honest, but No one else is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2021 @ 1:55am

    "- just personal amounts of marijuana and cocaine"

    So far I have only seen police reports that this was found in the property and no evidence that directly ties it to the victims.

    Groynes carried around drugs in his car to be used as 'evidence' whenever it suited him. He has motive means and opportunity and his team has shown that they considered themselves to be above the law.

    Also considering they cocked up the forensic examination of the scene, am unwilling just to accept the police's word for it. Until I see concrete proof to the contrary, there is every reason to consider that those drugs were planted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    cattress (profile), 2 Feb 2021 @ 1:57am

    Don't forget chief Acevedo coming to the uniformed gang bangers' defense in this case while claiming to need to break encryption in order to sweep out the refuse working in the department who might have participated in the insurrection and haven't been identified in thousands of hours of footage publicly available.
    Kinda seems like just a tiny bit of due diligence on his part to actually oversee his department should leave him with so few officers left that rooting out the insurrectionist would be least of his problems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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