HPD chief double downs on comments: 'I stand by that, we had probable cause to be there'

HOUSTON – The first mug shots of former Houston Police Department narcotics Officers Gerald Goines and Stephen Bryant were released Friday night.

The images were released hours after an announcement was made by Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg regarding alleged criminality, including two murder charges, by HPD officers in the deadly botched raid on Harding Street nearly seven months ago. 

The raid claimed the lives of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas.

Ogg had a message to the families of the victims during her lengthy news conference. 

"I want to tell them how sorry we are as a city and as a county for the actions that resulted in the loss of their loved ones' lives," she said.

Channel 2 Investigates was in court Friday as Goines and Bryant went before the judge.

Following their bond hearing, Goines' attorney, Nicole DeBorde, expressed her dismay over her client being directly charged unexpectedly. 

"A little disappointed and surprised that in a case that is as serious as this one, the district attorney's office did not bother to vet it with a grand jury," DeBorde said.

Hours after the charges were announced, Chief Art Acevedo held his own news conference.  The chief answered a lot of questions but did not want to answer one of Channel 2's inquiries, telling reporter Sophia Beausoleil, “I'm not going to get into a debate with Mr. (Mario) Diaz you know on every little piece.”

The chief was not happy with a question regarding an exchange from last Feb. 15. During an interview, the chief said, "It's really important for the community to realize, we still had a reason to be at that home.”

Channel 2 Investigates reminded Acevedo: "Chief, you indicated you had reason to be at that home. There appears to be no reason listed in this affidavit."

Acevedo’s response was, “But remember, that affidavit is but one piece of a very comprehensive investigation."

However, on Friday, when a reporter asked about it on two occasions, Acevedo had this reaction: "I stand by that. We had probable cause to be there."

When the question of a right to be in the home was asked again, the chief said: “Tell Mario Diaz that I think it's great that he's watching and that I appreciate it, but the probable cause, let me just tell you this … if I was investigating this we would have done a search warrant based on what we knew, we would have done it right and we probably wouldn't be here today."

The chief then added a bit later: "We are a nation where the rule of law matters, so tell Mario thanks for watching. I appreciate it."

We are hoping the chief addresses the question in full in the near future.

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