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Houston police chief, Art Acevedo, said his department would stop executing search warrants "A few days earlier", several weeks after raiding a house, causing two deaths among the police. married suspects and five wounded officers. Acevedo also reiterated that the officer who had led this operation could face criminal prosecution.
"The call-out warrant will disappear, much like leaded gasoline in our city," said Acevedo. He added that raids arising from these warrants would be used only in very limited cases – and that they would not be used to catch people suspected of selling small amounts of drugs.
"You will see them go," he says.
Acevedo announced the policy change Monday night at a public meeting organized by the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice. The event brought together criminal justice officials and politicians, as well as local activists and members of the public – who dispelled their anger at the deadly raid and what they called the police , who abused informants and conducted searches rather than investigations.
The leader has given some new details on suspicions that the main raid officer may have lied about the possibility of obtaining information on the target home from a confidential informant. Acevedo said that the policeman is still paid as the investigation progresses, saying that the agreement is legally required but goes against his own opinion.
"I am very confident that lawsuits will be filed against one or more police officers," Acevedo said Monday.
But when the chief uttered these words, he was interrupted by screams from the crowd, while people shouted "All".
Acevedo responded that charges will be laid "against whomever is appropriate".
Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, died in the Jan. 28 raid, which was planned after an informant reportedly told the police that the couple's home had been used to traffic d & # 39; heroin.
No heroin was found at the residence and Acevedo and the Houston police were forced to go back after stating that the two suspects had opened fire on officers as soon as they reached the door of the house in the Pecan Park neighborhood, south of downtown Houston. The official story changed after it appeared that the police seemed to have opened fire first, shooting at the couple's dog.
Here's how Houston Public Media member station describes the revised incident report:
"The shooting took place when a group of officers were executing a search warrant to seize heroin at 7815 Harding Street.According to a timeline, a pitbull dog would have them attacked when entering the house and an officer allegedly shot and killed the dog, and afterwards a suspicious man came from behind the house and opened fire, then a police officer was hit on one shoulder and fell on a couch in the living room.
"At that time, a suspicious woman went to the deceased policeman and tried to get her gun in. It was then that reinforcements fired at the suspect, after which an exchange of gunfire continued … The suspects, a married couple, died in the shooting. "
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, police found relatively small amounts of marijuana and cocaine at home, which also contained several guns.
As the legality of the operation is now in doubt, Acevedo said his department was to consider other cases involving the same officers who had carried out the raid.
Acevedo did not mention the names of officers who are considered for criminal charges. But later, he mentioned "corrupt police work, if you ask me, when you lie on a court affidavit, it's a crime".
"There is no excuse," he said.
The conversation at Monday night's town hall was sometimes tense, with members of the crowd sometimes charging the leader and his department.
Seeking to disperse the calls for his department to hand over the investigation to an outside agency, Acevedo said: "About three weeks ago, when this incident occurred, we were describing our officer – now a police officer being the subject of 'a criminal investigation – like a hero.'
But that changed after the Houston police discovered what she considered to be a criminal fault on the part of one or more of her own agents, the chief added. the the Chronicle and other media have identified him as officer Gerald Goines, a 30-year-old police veteran.
Goines' lawyer, hit on the neck and face, said on Tuesday that the officer was innocent; As reported by KPRC to local TV news, she also said that the case could be distorted by public and political pressure.
When Acevedo was asked on Monday night whether he would accept the FBI or the Texas Rangers to take over the investigation, he said "No".
The FBI is already involved in the case, he said, adding, "We are discovering our crimes and we are not worried" to not miss anything in the investigation.
Acknowledging the anger and skepticism in the play, the leader said: "I promise you all, if you have patience, you will see good results at the end" of the police investigation on the & # 39; 39 case and a review of its policies.
The deadly raid was not captured by body cameras; Acevedo said that in the coming weeks, his officers will start wearing them when entering homes and other buildings on the basis of a warrant.