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'Because officers lied, people died’: Grand jury hands down indictments against two ex-HPD officers in Harding Street raid

HOUSTON – A Harris County grand jury handed down indictments against two former Houston police officers Wednesday for their involvement in the botched Harding Street raid, according to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

Gerald Goines was indicted with felony murder and tampering with government documentation, which are the same charges filed last August. Steven Bryant was indicted on the same tampering with government documentation.

The woman who called 911, Patricia Garcia, 53, was also charged.

“Because officers lied, people died,” Ogg said at the press conference.

Ogg said the indictments conclude the first phase out of three phases. She also said two more grand juries will hear testimony and be presented with evidence on the case this year in the coming months.

She said the second phase will focus on a review of the officers and charges. The final phase will focus on a microscopic view of Squad 15, the officers involved in the raid. Ogg said there are 11 officers in Squad 15. Investigators will be looking for misconceptions and evidence that don’t add up.

Ogg also said the two “corrupt“ officers betrayed the public’s trust and damaged the reputation and the work of fellow Houston officers. She said her office will find justice for the victims.

Nicole DeBorde, the attorney representing Gerald Goines, sent the following statement to Channel 2 Investigates Mario Diaz following the announcement:

“The DA made the decision to charge these cases without first vetting it with a grand jury first. Only the prosecutors who brought the charges are allowed to go into the grand jury and It is not a surprise that the grand jury stamped off on the charges the DA originally brought. We look forward to our day in court.”

Background

On Jan. 28, Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle were killed when several police officers burst into their home at 7815 Harding Street. After officers shot the couple’s dog, Tuttle began firing at officers and they returned fire, killing both Nicholas and Tuttle, officials say. Five HPD officers were also hurt in the gunfire.

Goines and Bryant were both charged in August by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office after months of investigation. Goines was charged in Nicholas’ and Tuttle’s deaths.

Bryant is accused of lying in a police report saying he “had previously assisting Officer Gerald Goines in the investigation on Jan. 27, 2019," and that he said the heroin that was retrieved from Goines’ vehicle was bought from the Harding Street home on Jan. 27, officials wrote in the indictment.

Officials said on Jan. 8, Garcia, a neighbor of the victims on Harding Street, made a series of 911 calls that they believe set off the chain of events culminating in the botched raid 20 days later. She allegedly told officials her daughter was inside the home on Harding Street with heavily armed drug dealers. She is accused of falsely reporting that the people in the home were doing crack cocaine and heroin.


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