2 former HPD officers charged in botched Harding Street raid
Second former officer faces tampering charge
HOUSTON – Two former Houston Police Department officers charged in connection with the deadly botched raid at a home on Harding Street earlier this year turned themselves in Friday afternoon.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said former Houston narcotics officer Gerald Goines has been charged with two counts of murder in connection with the Jan. 28 raid during which Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, who lived at the home, were killed.
Former Houston narcotics officer Steven Bryant was charged with tampering with a government document in connection with the case, Ogg said.
Ogg said Goines is accused of lying in the affidavit used to obtain a no-knock warrant that was executed at the home and led to the deadly shooting.
Bryant is accused of lying in a supplemental report that was filed two days after the raid.
"This is a case like none other we've seen," Ogg said.
Both Goines and Bryant turned themselves in to authorities Friday afternoon and were booked into the Harris County Jail. Both were seen leaving downtown after making their bail.
Nicholas family reacts to charges being filed
The family of Nicholas released the following written statement about Friday's developments in the case:
"The indictments today of former HPD Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant are important developments, but they should be only the beginning of the pursuit of justice in the police killings of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle.
"The Nicholas family's search for the truth of what happened to Rhogena also continues. Our independent investigation is focused not only on HPD Narcotics Squad 15, but also about the conduct, pattern and practices of HPD before, during, and after the out-of-control, unjustified execution of Rhogena in her own home.
"We still seek a court order for sworn depositions of HPD Captain Paul Q. Follis and HPD Lieutenant Marsha Todd, and HPD police department personnel involved in the management of HPD Narcotics Squad 15. We believe the court has sufficient basis to order the depositions requested to investigate possible wrongful death, civil rights, and other legal claims.
"Finally, the Nicholas family is grateful for the work of the Harris County District Attorney's Office as well as all city, state and federal law enforcement personnel committed to a complete investigation of this terrible incident. They remain hopeful that the justice system will succeed in helping prevent other families from ordeals like theirs."
Local officials and leaders react to charges being filed
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner released a statement:
"An indictment of two police officers was announced today and the legal process will run its course. The City will fully cooperate in seeing that justice is done.
"HPD's responsibility is to protect and serve. The overwhelming number of police officers do that every day, often at the expense of their safety.
"We will work even harder to earn the trust and respect of the public we are obligated to serve.
We hope and pray that the community and police will continue to work together for the safety of our city."
HPD chief talks about Harding Street raid after two former officers charged
Neighbors welcome news of charges
Joseph Castaneda has lived on Harding Street his whole life and knew the couple who were killed inside their home during the botched raid.
"I used to see Dennis ride his long skateboard all the time and walk his dog. That's the best memory I have of him," Castaneda said. "And Reggie, you know, she was always, she was a good neighbor."
He believes Friday's news is a step in the right direction for his neighbors.
"One step closer to I guess our legal system getting better, getting more accurate, hopefully, build some more trust with the community and with law enforcement, too," Castaneda said.
"There are good cops. Then there's bad cops. Good people, bad people, nobody is perfect, but still, this day in age there needs to be a lot more good than bad, you know? Why did it have to be like that, though? Why lie?" said Castaneda in regards to Goines.
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