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The former Houston police officer at the center of a flawed drug raid that claimed the lives of two homeowners pleaded not guilty Friday at a Houston federal courtroom to allegations he violated the slain couple’s civil rights and repeatedly lied to obtain the search warrant.

Former narcotics officer Gerald Goines walked shackled and wearing an olive green jail jumpsuit into a crowded downtown courtroom filled with many of his supporters, including his wife, Tiffany Goines, and Elyse Lanier, the wife of former Houston Mayor Bob Lanier.

FBI agents arrested Goines, 55, as well as his 45-year-old former partner, Steven Bryant, at their homes Wednesday. Authorities also arrested Patricia Ann Garcia, who is accused of fabricating details in a 911 call that prompted the fatal Jan. 28 raid that claimed the lives of her neighbors, Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle.

In court on Friday, federal prosecutors quizzed an FBI agent about the events leading up to the fatal raid, revealing a slew of serious new allegations against Goines.

Investigators discovered a stolen gun in Goines' car, along with various illegal drugs. The  agent also said Goines' confidential informants denied buying drugs from 7815 Harding, where the botched raid happened. The drugs Goines said he had purchased from the Harding Street home were actually bought at another address, a confidential informant alleged. The informant also told investigators she and Goines had been having sex for years.

Goines was indicted on seven charges earlier this week, including allegations he fabricated an informant and lied on a search warrant affidavit, an offense report and the tactical plan made in preparation for the bust that turned into a gun battle that ended with the deaths of Nicholas and Tuttle and with five HPD officers injured.

Bryant is facing one count of falsifying records when he allegedly lied on an offense report. He claimed he’d helped Goines with a heroin buy at the Harding Street home — a purchase authorities say never really happened. The fabricated drug deal was part of the justification for the raid, which only turned up user-level amounts of marijuana and cocaine.

After Wednesday’s arrests, Bryant was released from federal custody after posting $50,000 bail. Garcia was released Thursday afternoon. Authorities had ordered Goines to remain in federal custody, however, after prosecutors argued he was a flight risk.

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The unsealed indictment follows state charges against both officers. Goines was charged with two counts of felony murder, and Bryant was charged with tampering with a government document.

Lanier said Goines had worked as security for her, and described her former bodyguard as a man of integrity and decency.

“He’s a gentle giant,” she said.

On HoustonChronicle.com: FBI arrest 2 police officers, 911 caller linked to deadly Harding Street drug raid

Goines, Bryant and other Houston narcotics officers burst into the house at 7815 Harding St. looking for heroin on Jan. 28. They’d zeroed in on that address after a tip from a worried mother — now identified as Garcia — alerted them to alleged drug activity there. To justify raiding the place, Goines allegedly fabricated an informant who he claimed bought heroin there on Jan. 27. After Goines signed an affidavit laying out the supposed drug purchase and illegal activity, police got permission for a no-knock raid.

As soon as the narcotics squad burst in the front door a day later, the bust erupted into gunfire. Four officers were shot, including Goines. One officer remains paralyzed from the waist down.

In the days that followed, an internal investigation sparked questions about the officers’ justification for the search warrant, and police quickly realized they could not find the informant Goines said made the buy.

Early on, the FBI launched its civil rights investigation, and the Harris County district attorney dismissed dozens of the officers’ active cases and announced prosecutors were reviewing more than 14,000 cases previously handled by GoinesBryant and the rest of their squad. Meanwhile, attorneys for the families of the slain couple hired an independent forensics team to review the scene. They suggested that Tuttle may have been on the floor when he was shot and raised questions about whether he ever fired at police.

st.john.smith@chron.com

 

https://m.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Gerald-Goines-the-Houston-police-officer-at-14855285.php

Edited by Auto Driller

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At this time I’m still going to take a pass on buying the theory that the cops were inadvertently drawn in by a jealous lover(or whatever) making a bogus report. I might give it some consideration if not for all the deviant bullshit the cops pulled before, during, and after the event.

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It really sounds more like these losers just like showing their buddy cops what awesome cops they are and don't really care about the people they are supposed to be protecting and serving. If some folks get framed for one thing it's ok because they probably did some ther bad stuff and deserve it. The 911 calls just gave them an excuse to set up another raid so they could prove how awesome they are.

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I'm sure the cop killer would have complied with a law that said he couldn't have a gun.  Sure thing Art.

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Art's "give a shit" priority list:

Art

Art's career

Art's department (blue line)

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Mom

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Politics

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Pizza and donuts

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Farts

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...

You

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How Goines' story unraveled, and how his history reflects very poorly on HPD.

https://reason.com/2019/12/09/handwritten-notes-document-the-collapse-of-the-phony-story-that-led-to-a-deadly-houston-drug-raid/

Quote

 "How do you reassure the public something like this isn't going to happen again?" a reporter asked Acevedo on the day the federal indictment was unsealed. His response was revealing:

Police officers have been engaged in misconduct since the advent of time. Human beings have been sinning since…the days of Adam and Eve, right? I mean, we're imperfect beings. I can't guarantee that nothing will ever happen again….What I can guarantee is that, number one, we will continue to be vigilant in our processes and our systems and our audits….We will always ask the tough questions when we take a life. What I can tell you is that the chances of this being systemic are not going to happen because of the processes in the systems that we have in time. But at the end of the day, there is an element of trust when you have employees….No matter what systems or processes are in place, there is no such thing as 100-percent fail-proof process.

Acevedo says "we will continue to be vigilant in our processes and our systems and our audits," which implies that the Houston Police Department already was vigilant about potential abuses by narcotics officers. Yet the Chronicle found that the Narcotics Division had gone two decades without an audit. It also found that, despite an expert consensus that undercover officers should be frequently rotated to other assignments, 71 officers have served a decade or more in the Narcotics Division. Michael Doyle, a lawyer hired by Nicholas' family, says supervisors let the raid go forward even though they knew Goines had not properly documented his contact with the informant he described. Goines' belief that he could get away with inventing a drug purchase by a nonexistent informant does not speak well of the HPD's "processes."

 

Edited by Viper

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11 hours ago, DalTxHornFan said:

Violence Against Women Act?

I thought Acevedo said we had rape kits to take care of that.

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I'd love to see Goines' gun collection - 

Quote

Goines obtained nearly 100 no-knock warrants like the one used in this case, almost always claiming that informants had seen firearms in the homes he wanted to search. But he reported recovering guns only once, a pattern no one seems to have noticed.

Odds are better to win the lottery multiple times than to find 99% of the homes you search in Houston are absent a firearm.

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The day we can write in "Acevedo" for "Goines" will be such a sweet day...

Quote

Goines stood still, his eyes angled downward toward court paperwork arrayed on a table in front of him. When he spoke, he was barely audible. At one point, the magistrate asked if he understood he had a right to remain silent. He responded inaudibly.

“You have to say it out loud,” the judge said.

“Yes I do,” he said, hoarsely.

 

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"How do you reassure the public something like this isn't going to happen again?" a reporter asked Acevedo on the day the federal indictment was unsealed.

 

Should be:

"How do you reassure the public something like this isn't happening all the fucking time you POS?" a reporter asked Acevedo on the day the federal indictment was unsealed.

 

Rogue cops killing, robbing, possessing drugs, possessing stolen guns, lying, on and on. HPD needs to clean house, top to bottom. Call in the national guard to police the streets and the FBI to handle the investigating until an entirely new police force is trained and hired.

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1 hour ago, High Plains Drifter said:

"How do you reassure the public something like this isn't going to happen again?" a reporter asked Acevedo on the day the federal indictment was unsealed.

 

Should be:

"How do you reassure the public something like this isn't happening all the fucking time you POS?" a reporter asked Acevedo on the day the federal indictment was unsealed.

 

Rogue cops killing, robbing, possessing drugs, possessing stolen guns, lying, on and on. HPD needs to clean house, top to bottom. Call in the national guard to police the streets and the FBI to handle the investigating until an entirely new police force is trained and hired.

Question remains, when there are multiple levels of ‘failure’ or ‘cooperation ‘ required, how rogue an individual is.

Acevedo gets paid for more than speaking to the media.  IMHO, he should own this, as should the other leaders within the department.

By owning, I mean facing prison time for conspiracy to commit murder.

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Handwritten Notes Document the Collapse of the Phony Story That Led to a Deadly Houston Drug Raid

 

A veteran Houston narcotics officer's handwritten responses to questions from internal investigators document the unraveling of the story he concocted to obtain the warrant for a no-knock drug raid that killed a middle-aged couple last January. "I screw[ed] up," Gerald Goines, who was shot in the face during the raid, wrote as he lay in a hospital bed, "because I made a buy without the correct man power there."

Inadequate manpower was the least of the problems with Goines' investigation of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, which the Justice Department says was based on a false tip from a neighbor. Goines, who faces state murder charges and federal civil rights charges as a result of the deadly raid, claimed in his search warrant affidavit that a confidential informant had bought heroin from a middle-aged "white male, whose name is unknown," at the house on Harding Street where Tuttle and Nicholas lived. After the raid, which found no evidence of drug dealing, Goines could not identify an informant who would confirm that story.

In the handwritten notes, which were obtained by KPRC, the NBC station in Houston, Goines finally fesses up, sort of. "What is the name of your C.I. [confidential informant] that you used for 7815 Harding?" the investigators ask. "Gerald Goines," he replies. "There was no confidential informant….I made the purchase myself. I was looking to buy from a female. I bought from the male. I had info regarding people at the residence. I'm not sure if the guy I bought from was the male listed in info."

That "info," according to a federal indictment unsealed last month, was fabricated by Patricia Garcia, who lived across the street and described Tuttle and Nicholas as armed and dangerous drug dealers in telephone conversations with police on January 8. Although Goines supposedly investigated that tip for two weeks, he does not seem to have known the names of the purported drug dealers and, by his own account, did not know what Tuttle looked like. But that did not really matter, because the heroin purchase he said he made never happened, according to the indictment.

Goines also admitted to investigators that Steven Bryant, the narcotics officer he claimed had confirmed that the "brown powder substance" supposedly purchased at 7815 Harding Street was black-tar heroin, never saw the alleged contraband. "Officer Bryant never observe[d] the narcotic which was purchase[d] from the residence," Goines wrote. "I placed that statement in the [affidavit]." Bryant, who like Goines retired after the raid, faces state and federal charges for backing up Goines' fictional narrative.

In his written responses, Goines said he bought "two small baggies" of a "powdery substance" from the unidentified white male on the evening before the raid, and he was sure the man "would still be in possession" when police searched the home. But the only drugs that police found in the house were personal-use quantities of marijuana and cocaine. In his affidavit, Goines also claimed that his informant had seen "a semi-auto hand gun of a 9mm caliber" in the house; no such weapon was recovered.

All of this makes you wonder what Goines' plan was. Had he not been shot during the raid he engineered, would he have planted the heroin and the gun he had described in his affidavit? Goines' expectation that his fabrications would go undetected does not reflect well on the alertness and integrity of his colleagues and supervisors. As it turned out, Bryant did cover for Goines, confirming his own role in the transaction that Goines invented.

If the raid had not ended so disastrously, Goines might very well have succeeded in framing Tuttle and Nicholas. He had a history of mishandling evidence and making dubious statements under oath. Over 12 years, The Houston Chronicle found, Goines obtained nearly 100 no-knock warrants like the one used in this case, almost always claiming that informants had seen firearms in the homes he wanted to search. But he reported recovering guns only once, a pattern no one seems to have noticed.

That track record, combined with the loose supervision that allowed this operation to unfold as it did, suggests that imposing limits on no-knock raids and finally requiring narcotics officers to wear body cameras when they execute search warrants—two reforms that Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo instituted in response to this scandal—do not go far enough to root out the problems in the Narcotics Division. "How do you reassure the public something like this isn't going to happen again?" a reporter asked Acevedo on the day the federal indictment was unsealed. His response was revealing:

Police officers have been engaged in misconduct since the advent of time. Human beings have been sinning since…the days of Adam and Eve, right? I mean, we're imperfect beings. I can't guarantee that nothing will ever happen again….What I can guarantee is that, number one, we will continue to be vigilant in our processes and our systems and our audits….We will always ask the tough questions when we take a life. What I can tell you is that the chances of this being systemic are not going to happen because of the processes in the systems that we have in time. But at the end of the day, there is an element of trust when you have employees….No matter what systems or processes are in place, there is no such thing as 100-percent fail-proof process.

Acevedo says "we will continue to be vigilant in our processes and our systems and our audits," which implies that the Houston Police Department already was vigilant about potential abuses by narcotics officers. Yet the Chronicle found that the Narcotics Division had gone two decades without an audit. It also found that, despite an expert consensus that undercover officers should be frequently rotated to other assignments, 71 officers have served a decade or more in the Narcotics Division. Michael Doyle, a lawyer hired by Nicholas' family, says supervisors let the raid go forward even though they knew Goines had not properly documented his contact with the informant he described. Goines' belief that he could get away with inventing a drug purchase by a nonexistent informant does not speak well of the HPD's "processes."

Acevedo puts "the chances of this being systemic" at zero, even as he concedes that something like this is bound to happen again. In the face of a scandal that should make all Houstonians worry about the security of their constitutional rights, Acevedo's observations about the fallen nature of humanity are hardly reassuring.

https://reason.com/2019/12/09/handwritten-notes-document-the-collapse-of-the-phony-story-that-led-to-a-deadly-houston-drug-raid/

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