Thursday, August 01, 2019

New Evidence in Houston No Knock Raid Scandal resulting in Death of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle

There have been startling developments in the investigation of the disastrous no-knock raid in Houston on 28 January, 2019. A middle aged couple were killed and four police wounded. In the light of contradictory police stories, the family of the couple who died hired an independent forensics firm to document the evidence at the home at 7815 Harding Street. The independent investigation took place after forensic data collection done by the local government authorities.

The independent investigators invited the Texas Rangers and the Harris County Institute for Forensic Science to attend the investigation. Both declined the invitation. The independent investigation findings were released on 14 May, 2019. On 24 July, 2019, family attorney Mike Doyle presented the findings in court.

Rhogena Nicholas, was a supporter of President Trump. Her Husband, Dennis Tuttle was a Navy veteran. They had no criminal records. They lived in their home in Houston for 20 years and were married for the same 20 years.

A narcotics investigator, Officer Goines, obtained a warrant to raid their home. According to Police Chief Acevedo and, on 13 February, 2019, the warrant was based on lies.
"We know that a crime has been committed. It's a serious crime," said Acevedo, who is referring to clear lies in the original warrant. "When we go into someone's home, which is the sanctity in someone's home, it has to be truthful. It has to be honest. It has to be absolutely factual. So, we know there's a crime that's been committed. There's a high probability that there will be a criminal charge."

The  police broke down their door. The first officer in shot the Tuttles' dog. He claimed the dog was "charging him". That shot started the gun battle. Dennis Tuttle supposedly shot back with a .357 magnum revolver, wounding the first officer in the door. Initially, on 28 January, 2019, no revolver was inventoried from the scene.

The day after the independent forensics team findings were released, on 14 May, 2019, the Houston Police said the revolver was among the evidence police investigators recovered.

Police claim Rhogena attempted to take a shotgun from a wounded officer. She was shot and killed.  It is not clear if she ever touched the officer's shotgun. The independent forensics report claims she was killed by bullets fired through the wall of the home, where the person firing could not have seen her. From 24 July, 2019:
Doyle said his team had recovered the bullet that killed Nicholas, and that evidence showed she was shot by an officer standing outside of the house, who fired through a wall — meaning he would not have been able to see her — striking her as she turned away from the door, toward where her dead dog was found.

In addition, the independent investigators' report claimed the couples dog was shot at the edge of the dining room, 15 feet from the door. That raises questions about the claim the dog was charging at the first officer in the door. 
though the outside forensics review showed the dog was shot and killed at the edge of the dining room, 15 feet from the front door.

The exact timing of events is uncertain, because no officers wore body cameras. Surveillance video from the house next door was confiscated by the police. Houston Police have refused to release the 911 calls.

The independent investigators were able to recover cell phone video of the event. The most provocative evidence, claimed from the video, is two shots were fired almost 30 minutes after the raid started. The investigators claim it was shortly after those shots were fired, the police at the scene said that "Both suspects were down".  The private investigators found evidence that two shots were fired inside the home, into the back wall of the dining room, from very close range, contrary to police versions of the event. In total, the private investigators recovered more than 10 bullets from inside the Harding Street house.  From 24 July, 2019: 
The independent review, released in a court filing Thursday, also highlighted the perplexing presence of two bullet holes in an inner room of the home, shot into the wall from inches away but more than four yards from the shootout by the front door.

Taken in conjunction with video footage that appears to have captured the sound of two shots half an hour after the gunbattle, family attorney Mike Doyle argued in a 22-page legal petition that the independent findings raise enough questions to merit further investigation in preparation for a lawsuit.
The independent investigators say they did not find evidence of people inside the house firing toward the outside.

The independent investigators  recovered two teeth, they say belonged to Dennis Tuttle, inside the house. The autopsy of Dennis Tuttle should reveal if he was shot in the head and if he was missing teeth as a result.

The competence of the official local forensic investigators is questionable, if they left 10 bullets and two human teeth, at the scene, to be recovered by independent forensic investigators.

Of the last 109 cases where Officer Goines swore out search warrants, all made claims of guns, but no guns were recorded as having been seized.  From
Goines swore in search warrant affidavits that “knocking and announcing would be dangerous, futile,” because he claimed a confidential informant had seen a gun inside. Those claims led judges to grant no-knock warrants, which accounted for 96 percent of all the search warrants he filed in the last seven years, a KHOU 11 Investigation has found.

But in every one of the more than 100 drug cases based off those warrants, there’s no record of Goines ever seizing a gun after executing a no-knock search warrant.
Immediately after the raid, the meme of innocent officers being ambushed by drug dealers was spread across the nation, before it was shown to be false. From in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 28, 2019 (the head of the police union is Gamaldi, not Grimaldi or Grammas) :
The Houston Police Union did not hold back after the ambush-style attack.

"We are sick and tired of having targets on our back, we are sick and tired of having dirt bags trying to take our lives," said Joe Grimaldi, with the Houston Police Officers Union.

"We need to have stiffer penalties on people committing crime, there's no doubt about it," said Grammas.

Grammas said he would like to see mandatory death sentences for cop killers and additional officers on the street to begin to deter the violence facing officers.
There was no ambush. The police fired first. It was a no-knock raid based on false evidence.  There are many unanswered questions about who fired when and who hit who.

Joe Gamaldi, head of the Houston Police Officers Union, has been tight lipped about the raid for some time. Initially, he made this threat:  From on January 29th, 2019:
“Enough is enough. If you're the ones out there spreading the rhetoric that police officers are the enemy, well just know we've all got your number now,” Gamaldi said. “We're going to be keeping track on all of y'all, and we're going to make sure to hold you accountable every time you stir the pot on our police officers.
Four officers have retired since the investigations of the raid began. From on March 22, 2019:
Officer Gerald Goines retired Friday afternoon while under investigation following the Jan. 28 shooting deaths of two residents during a “no-knock raid” of a Pecan Park residence in south Houston. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing more than 1,400 criminal cases that Goines worked on over the course of his 34-year career.

Goines was relieved of duty as questions mounted about his actions leading up to the drug raid, in which a team of undercover narcotics officers burst into a residence at 7815 Harding St. after obtaining a no-knock search warrant. A gun battle ensued that left homeowners Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas dead. Goines was shot, as were three other officers, one of whom remains hospitalized.

The four officers all had more than 20 years with the HPD as narcotics officers.

Officer Steven O. Bryant, was listed in the warrant, HPD narcotics investigator Gerald Goines, was the lead investigator in the case, and  two other unnamed HPD narcotics officers are reported to have retired as well.

No officers wore body cameras. Shortly after the raid, Chief Acevedo spoke of officers "laying down covering fire".  We do not know how many rounds were fired by police, or where, or aimed at who. From on January 30th, 2019:
"After we had two officers down and another shot, the remaining officers ... started laying down cover fire, left positions of cover themselves and, I believe, they heroically pulled their fellow officers out of harm's way," Acevedo said.
With the evidence collected by the independent forensic experts, family attorney Mike Doyle has filed a petition to allow for questioning of police officials under oath, in preparation for a lawsuit. The FBI is also investigating the case.

©2019 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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Death Breath said...

I can't help but believe that the police and their desire to shoot is playing a role in higher stakes police to civilian murders. I couldn't explain the rise in civilian deaths in any other manner. With fatalities in a negative light, I'd think twice before pulling my gun if I were a cop. There for I fail to see, how cops continue to kill unarmed and even incorrectly identified armed civilians. Perhaps in that same light, if a police officer can't control their weapon, they should not be given the job. It does seem like maybe certain policed regions are just grateful to the body in the position, and less preoccupied if the murdering son of a... I mean police person is capable of not killing people. I mean, it's not the armed services, of the country. I'd understand the mercenaries we've hired coming into our streets and killing us, at least that is their directive. Police are supposed to protect and serve, not accuse and murder. By the way, I live in Texas.

Anonymous said...

In My opinion No Knock warrants are blatantly unconstitutional. A warrant is a legal document that must be served before it can be enforced. The person being served has the right to challenge the accuracy of the warrant. A warrant is not a blank shopping list for aggressive police. I personally have challenged warrants and stopped the entry. A warrant is not served until the person being served has read it and had an opportunity to object. If I remember correctly the warrant in Question was for the wrong address. the people killed were not part of any crime. My place is a little different than most. any one trying to get to me might break their neck before they could get close to me. My place is completely paid for and I know how to make the repairs if I have to shoot through a wall. I doubt there is a weapon in my home that could not shoot through the entire place from one side to the other in any direction. I believe if they get in they will need to be carried out. I make my own ammo and I know what it can do. My front door is steel and dead bolted. My home is an obstacle course in the dark and not easy to get through in the light. I know where every gun and its extra ammo is through out the house. If I run out of ammo, which is very unlikely I have back up weapons that don't need ammo. I don't have Want to hurt any one. If they are dead they feel no pain. If they enter my home uninvited I can only believe they intend to do me harm. Our bill of rights is a government guarantee of those rights. People need to understand the ninth amendment and what it means and pay very close attention to what the forth amendment says. Police violate the law all the time and if you don't know your rights, You get what you deserve for being ignorant. I recommend getting a little book on the constitution and studying it, not just to read but study it. The constitution was written to limit the power of government, Not to be twisted into what the government wants it to say. I believe the day will come when the constitution must be defended by the people to restore its authority we the people gave to government. A warrant is not issued to find a crime. It is an investigative too to solve an existing crime. As in law, only the words actually written have the power of enforcement and they must be accurate or the warrant is void. If police enter the wrong home that is illegal entry, a felony. If they kill some in that home it is murder during the commission of a felony. Every police officer on that detail is guilty of all charges. I use the bank robbery scenario to make my point If a bank guard is killed during the robbery the get away car driver having never entered the bank is guilty of the murder to.

Anonymous said...

I hope I'm not considered to be abusing this forum. It is a great platform for me to Try to educate some of you on just what is wrong in this country and how over time government has illegally increased and abused it authority. The government does not give you your rights it guarantees your rights that every one had before the government was created. Historically whether you like it or not our constitution and legal structure are based on the Christian Bible. Your rights come from God. the constitution guarantees the government will protect and defend those rights. A basic concept in the Bible is, it is better to let 100 guilty go free than to convict one innocent person. God Knows who is guilty and the guilty that go free will eventually be judged. Most of the tricks invented by those in our legal system were invented to increase promotions and pay, Greed, the root of all evil. As I step down from the pulpit. I hope I have given some food for thought. I say government is out of control and here is why. innocence of the law is no excuse. there are some 63 million laws, acts and regulation on the books in this country. Step right up and identify your self if you know all 63 million. of those 63 million more than 90% are unconstitutional for one reason or another. We the people are to control the power and authority of government. government has reversed the rolls. the constitution stopped being taught in the 1970's to dumb down the population. It is irresponsible to not learn as much about the constitution as each individual can. You can learn it or we can all forget it. Restore the constitution.