Two former Houston police officers are facing federal criminal charges for killing two people during a botched drug raid in January. A female 911 caller who allegedly provided fake information that led to the raid was also charged in federal court on Wednesday.
Keri Blakinger is a reporter from the Houston Chronicle who’s been following the case since it began, and says former Officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant face a nine-count federal indictment, as well as state charges.
“Two of those nine are for violating [the] rights of the couple that was killed in the raid,” Blakinger says. “One of those charges mentions the man, Dennis Tuttle, and the other mentions the woman, Regina Nicholas. But the other seven counts of the indictment are things like witness tampering and falsifying records.”
Blakinger says it all started when Patricia Garcia made a 911 call in January alleging that her daughter was with Tuttle and Nicholas who were dealing heroin and crack.
“She called 911 to say that her daughter was in the home doing drugs,” Blakinger says. “That Dennis and Regina were smoking crack, and that there were guns, including machine guns. None of that turned out to be true, and that was the basis for the decision to go investigate.”
Goines and Bryant used Garcia’s allegations as a false basis for an investigation. They obtained a search warrant, Blakinger says, and they proceeded with a “no-knock” raid.
“That is something that HPD [Houston Police Department] and many departments have been commonly using in any situation where they can show that there may be a gun inside the home, or even simply that it may be easy to dispose of the drugs if you just politely knock and ask to come in,” Blakinger says. “They come in all suited up, guns blazing and pound down the door.”
Written by Antonio Cueto.