A confrontation while police were issuing a no-knock warrant in Harris County left the two suspects dead, five officers injured, and a mountain of questions from the public about the basis of the warrant and the justification for the raid.
The raid happened on January 28 and almost immediately, observers began to question the details surrounding the incident.
Initially the public was told the raid was based on a confidential informant who told the Houston Police Department that drugs were being sold out of a home at 7815 Harding Street. However, the drugs that were allegedly there were never found and later it was revealed that the mother of Rhogena Nicholas, the female suspect who was killed, had in fact called police, initiating the investigation, because she was concerned about her daughter doing drugs inside of her own home.
At a press conference outside of the hospital where the officers were taken after the raid, Houston Police Officers Union President Joe Gamaldi launched into a tirade against those who, according to him, put a “target” on the backs of officers. Gamaldi seemed to insinuate that the officers were injured because of the actions and rhetoric of local activists groups rather than what actually happened, they were injured in the process of carrying out the raid.
“According to the warrant affidavit, a confidential informant bought heroin from a man matching [Dennis] Tuttle’s description at the house the day before the raid, when he reported seeing a ‘large quantity of plastic baggies’ containing heroin. Instead police found ‘approximately 18 grams of marijuana’ and ‘approximately 1.5 grams of an unknown white powder’ that Acevedo later identified as cocaine,” reads an article from Reason.
Aside from not finding the drugs reported by the informant, the officers also failed to find any supplies for drug dealing or quantities of money that indicated that dealing was happening at the house.
What makes matters worse is that the confidential informant in this case has helped officers in at least ten other cases.
HPD has now opened an investigation into the details surrounding the warrant and the raid, they have also “relieved” one of the senior officers from duty until the conclusion of the investigation.