'We do want murder charges': Community outrage in wake of deadly HPD raid-turned-shootout

By Vincent Crivelli - Reporter, Sally Mamdooh - Reporter

HOUSTON - A local group is demanding change to Houston police policy after a raid turned into a deadly shootout last month.

An affidavit obtained Friday alleged that “material untruths or lies” were used to get a search warrant for a southeast Houston home in January where the raid turned into a deadly shootout, according to Houston police Chief Art Acevedo.

Now, the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice wants the Houston Police Department to change its policy on no-knock warrants after two people were killed and four officers shot during a raid at a southeast Houston home.

On Jan. 28, Dennis Tuttle, Rhogena Nicholas and their dog were killed in a drug raid gone wrong at their home on 7815 Harding St. where a no-knock warrant was served.

According to the activist group, if Tuttle and Nicholas had known who was at their home, they would have never fired shots at officers.

Hai Bui, an executive member of the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice, said the group’s focus is to get rid of no-knock warrants. 

Bui said police officers in street clothes, who don’t identify themselves and bust down a door is a problem. 

“It endangers everyone, just barging in and shooting the dog. You shoot my dog, I shoot you back,” Bui said.

The group invited Acevedo, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the district attorney to a town hall meeting to discuss changes to the no-knock protocol.

“Our group doesn’t discriminate. It’s about justice for all,” Bui said. “(Police) want to be open and transparent? What a great opportunity for the public to ask you questions.”

Community activist Sheree Dore and several other activists gathered outside HPD headquarters Monday demanding accountability.

“We do want murder charges listed for the gentlemen who lied to obtain the warrant that killed two innocent people and their dogs,” Dore said.

Dore is also asking the chief to look into every case investigated by the officer in question.

Protestors here say their trust in police has diminished.

“It can happen to anyone of us -- you, me, any one of us, your family members -- when it knocks on your door than you will feel the pain,” protestor Nikkita Braziel said.

Jeff Reese is a member of the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice and is one of the organizers of Monday night's town hall meeting.

“I’d like the public to be able to have answers,” Reese said.

Reese said a large number of the Harding Street neighbors where the shooting happened were given flyers to attend.

"Having this town hall meeting will allow the public to know what's really happening and what's the status of the investigation,” Reese said.

In a news conference, Acevedo said he is potentially open to reviewing the policy.

"The truth of the matter is if somebody flushes all the evidence, it probably wasn't because you (didn't) use a no-knock,” Acevedo said. “You probably didn't have that much evidence to start with, and secondly if it’s that dangerous, we probably need to use a much higher, different type of team to go in."

Bui said Acevedo confirmed his attendance. Turner was expected to attend, but later said he would not attend. Bui hasn’t heard back from the DA. The town hall meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the THB Center on Jensen Drive in the Second Ward.

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