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New charges illustrate culture within HPD Narcotics unit, legal analyst says

HOUSTON – More than a year after the raid on Harding Street, six former Houston police officers are now facing charges. Five of them are accused of falsifying government documents used in narcotics investigations.

“It’s not as serious as the three levels of felonies above it,” said KPRC 2 legal analyst Brian Wice, a criminal defense attorney. “But it is serious because it strikes at the very heart of what we can count on in the criminal justice system to produce fair trials and reliable results.”

District Attorney Kim Ogg said the charges show a pattern of lying, including by supervisors. Wice said the charges appear to indicate a problem with the culture inside the department’s narcotics division.

“My question is: if that’s true, why did it take HPD and the DA’s office as long as it did for them to undercover something that they now maintain was systemic?” Wice said.

The charges could have a wider impact, possibly leading some of the cases involving the former officers to be dismissed, Wice said.

“Those cases are going to be under the strictest review by Harris County prosecutors as Gerald Goines cases have been over the last year,” Wice said.

The DA’s office said it’s notified hundreds of people that there may be problems with their criminal convictions and it’s asking the court system to appoint lawyers to review their options.