HOUSTON — The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation into the deadly raid that left two people dead and five Houston police officers injured, Police Chief Art Acevedo announced Wednesday.
Acevedo said the Houston Police Department has been working closely with the FBI to investigate the Jan. 28 raid in the 7800 block of Harding Street that killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas. That has raised a slew of questions, including HPD’s tactics and a search warrant that Acevedo admitted falsified about a drug buy inside the home.
“We welcome that spirit of transparency,” Acevedo said.
The news comes less than an hour after the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced it will review more than 1,400 cases related to officer Gerald Goines, the case agent during the no-knock raid. Twenty-eight of those cases are active, the DA’s office said.
The chief also announced two policy changes Wednesday.
No-knock warrants will no longer be used in Houston without prior approval by Acevedo or the two executive assistant chiefs. The new policy was effective Wednesday.
The reason behind the new policy, Acevedo said, is “we don’t want to wait until we have more death, more people get injured. If there’s a situation that a no-knock warrant is needed, Acevedo must sign off before judicial approval is sought.
In another policy, Acevedo said going forward body worn cameras will be used by all SWAT members and officers serving warrants in the future.
Acevedo said an investigation into the raid is still ongoing but wouldn’t go into more details.
“It’s important for everyone to be patient and realize we can jeopardize the ultimate outcome of this case if we’re not careful as a community and if we’re not careful in what we’re putting out there,” Acevedo said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner repeated his support for Acevedo since the Jan. 28 raid. Turner said Acevedo has been both “forthright and candid” and that he “hasn’t shied away from answers.”
Community members in recent weeks have called for Acevedo’s firing, including mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee. Acevedo has said he’s not worried about those calls for his termination.
“My skills and my history speak for themselves, and if not for this Chief, nobody would be talking about what our officer did wrong,” Acevedo said at a town hall meeting Monday night.
Turner called for Houston’s Independent Police Oversight Board to conduct its own review into the raid and share its findings.
“I want all of these investigations to move along as quickly as possible so that we can begin to restore and heal our city,” Turner said.