EXCLUSIVE: Buzbee calls on Mayor to seek Chief Acevedo's resignation

HOUSTON – Tony Buzbee called Monday for the resignation of Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo in a statement sent exclusively to KPRC2.

Buzbee urged Mayor Sylvester Turner to have Acevedo resign.

"This mayor hired the chief, he now needs to ask him to resign," Buzbee said in the statement.

Buzbee is planning on running for mayor and held his first campaign rally Feb. 4.

The calls for Acevedo's resignation come after new revelations about a shootout that left Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas dead.

On Friday, after KPRC2 first revealed the initial findings of an internal investigation, Acevedo acknowledged a crime was committed by an officer who obtained the original search warrant that led to the Jan. 28 raid and shootout at 7815 Harding St.

According to documents, a sergeant with the Houston Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit stated that he and his partner were unable to track down any confidential informants involved in a drug buy at the home of 58-year-old Nicholas and 59-year-old Tuttle. Both were killed in the shooting which also resulted in the shooting of four HPD officers. A fifth officer injured his knee in the melee.

In the warrant, the sergeant says that Officer Gerald Goines, of HPD’s Narcotics Division, provided officers, including a high-ranking narcotics division supervisor, two different names of confidential informants. The warrant stated the two officers, “interviewed all of the confidential informants and all denied making a buy for Goines from the Harding Street residence, and ever purchasing narcotics from Nicholas or Tuttle.”

“We know for a fact that, more than likely, the investigating officer will be charged with a serious crime at some point,” Acevedo said.

A spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office said the case will be presented to a grand jury to determine if any criminal charges should be filed.

Acevedo said the documents showed that his department is involved in an extensive investigation of the events that led to the shooting.

“The community will absolutely know the good, the bad and the ugly,” Acevedo said. 

The chief said that he would urge patience as the investigation proceeds, and asked the community to refrain from painting the department with a “broad brush” because of the actions of one officer.

“We will take as much time as we need to get to the bottom of this case,” Acevedo said.

Here is Buzbee's complete statement:

“In the Marines when there is a colossal screwup, accountability starts at the top. This mayor hired the chief, he now needs to ask him to resign.

"The controversy stems from a botched shootout that left a couple in their late 50s, married more than two decades, and their dog, dead. An internal investigation has already revealed that the narcotic case agent, who obtained the warrant for the 'no-knock' entry, lied about the activity underlying the warrant, and at least one other officer attempted to cover up that lie.

"It is also now known that this narcotic case agent, Gerald Goines, was already facing accusations of fabrication, even before the botched operation. According to the Houston Chronicle: 'Goines is currently accused of fabricating a drug deal, then lying about it in court to win a conviction against a man who has long maintained his innocence.'

“For a moment, put aside the chief’s duty to the citizens of Houston to protect them and to have systems in place to ferret out those rare bad cops; consider the morale of the 99 percent of Houston police officers who are out on the streets honestly doing the right thing, every day. They work hard, put their lives on the line, and face constant scrutiny by the public. They put their trust in the police chief to do his job and protect their reputation as a police force. He failed them, and all of us.

“The mayor needs to make sure this city stands behind its police force, but at the same time will deal harshly with a bad cop who lies to obtain a warrant, resulting in the death of two citizens and the shooting of other police. This mayor needs to seek the chief’s resignation, now. There are a lot of good police he can choose from to fill the position, because hiring from within is always better—in my view. I’ll also say I am confident that the rank and file police officers are just as disgusted by what happened as the citizens of Houston are. I’m also confident that the police will work, or are likely already working with outside authorities to ensure a thorough investigation is done not only in this case, but in all cases in which any bad cops were involved.”

Turner released a statement on the internal investigation:

“I endorse a full and thorough investigation into this matter to determine what did and did not take place, and I stress that this be completed as soon as possible. I will refrain from commenting about it until I have all facts before me.”