Chief: Houston police will end use of no-knock warrants
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police will no longer use no-knock warrants following a drug raid on a home that turned into a deadly shootout in which two suspects were killed and five undercover officers were injured, the city’s police chief said.
“The no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announced during a town hall meeting Monday.
He said officers will need to request a special exemption from his office to conduct a no-knock raid.
The decision comes as the city faces criticism from local community activists for the Jan. 28 raid that led to the deaths of 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, who both lived in the home. Four officers were shot in the gunfight and another was injured but not shot.
Acevedo revealed last week that an investigation into the drug raid found a 30-year veteran of the force lied in an affidavit to justify storming the house without warning. Officer Gerald Goines, who prepared the search warrant, has since been suspended and it’s unclear what charges he could face, according to the police chief.
Goines couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
“I’m very confident we’re going to have criminal charges on one or more of the officers,” Acevedo said.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said her office will investigate and hold those involved accountable.
Acevedo also announced a new policy for undercover officers to wear body cameras during raids .
Residents whose family members were killed in no-knock raids spoke out against the department for not investigating enough before using the tactic.
“I just want to see change, that’s it,” said Aurora Charles, whose 55-year-old brother was killed during a no-knock raid in 2013. “They’ve got to do their homework before they go in with these warrants.”
No-knock warrants have also been challenged in Little Rock, Arkansas. The city and its police department face a lawsuit alleging that officers use misleading or false information to justify unlawful drug raids, mostly against black residents.