HOUSTON — The deadly no-knock police raid on Harding Street strikes a nerve with a Houston mother.
A similar raid involving two of the same officers nearly killed her son six years ago.
“And my heart goes out to that family because I know what they’re going through,” said Elizabeth Gonsoulin.
News coverage of the Harding Street raid that left two dead and several officers injured reminded Gonsoulin of the no-knock raid that happened at her home in 2013.
Gonsoulin said officers put a gun in her face after bursting in and shooting her adult son, George Benard, as four family members watched TV.
“I had a door in the kitchen then, and when they shot him, it pushed him all the way through that door,” said Gonsoulin.
She said her son was unarmed, had his hands up, and later lost a number of fingers due to complications from being in a coma for two months.
HPD later admitted Benard was unarmed but said drugs were found inside.
“We still haven’t seen a search warrant,” said Gonsoulin.
The family filed a lawsuit against the city and a number of officers involved in the raid. That includes two officers now relieved of duty for possibly lying about the reasons the home on Harding Street was targeted last month.
“I have family that’s police officers, everybody’s not bad,” said Gonsoulin. “But it takes one bad apple to make the whole department look bad.”
Gonsoulin’s pastor, James Nash, sat in on our interview.
He said he happens to also sit on the board of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office.
“The policy needs to change, the no-knock,” said Nash. “There has to be a better way to do that.”
Gonsoulin’s son does not want to talk about what happened six years ago. Although his mother always figured she might again.
“Because what’s done in the dark sooner or later comes to the light,” said Gonsoulin.
Benard does have a criminal record although we’re told drug charges related to the no-knock raid were dismissed.