State legislature was on Thursday at the site of a fatal drug heist that has involved the Houston Police Department in a scandal. He criticized the narcotics department’s internal audit, calling it a “whitewash” and promising to propose laws to prevent government agencies from blocking the release of internal audits or similar documents in the future.
“This check is a scam,” said Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, one of the first legislators to request Chief Art Acevedo to publish the document. “There is no discussion of how the higher command at 1200 Travis got these issues to the point where Harding Street happened. It doesn’t speak for the systemic issues that led to the deaths of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas.”
Acevedo could not be reached immediately for a comment.
Wu was accompanied by half a dozen other state officials, along with Mike Doyle and Boyd Smith, two local lawyers representing the relatives of the raid victims Nicholas and Tuttle, the couple who lived at 7815 Harding Street. They were killed last year when undercover narcotics officers stormed into their home and searched for drugs. Shots were fired that left the couple dead and four police officers were shot, including Gerald Goines, who led the operation. The police did not publish the ballistics report, so it is not known who carried out the shootout. Goines was later accused of lying about the drug purchase that led to the operation, and is charged with murder and other crimes. His former partner, Steven Bryant, is accused of manipulating a government file.
On Wednesday, Harris’s attorney general, Kim Ogg, announced additional charges against Goines, Bryant, and four other former officials and superiors.
Following Ogg’s announcement, Acevedo published the document in a tweet late Wednesday evening.
INCORRECT DOOR: Chronical investigations show misconduct in the narcotics department beyond the police in the center of a botched robbery
At the press conference, state officials said they were “disappointed” with the ministry’s long struggle to disclose the audit and said recent events suggested the need for an external review.
“I am disappointed that it took so long to get this tiny bit of transparency (from HPD) myself,” said MP Jon Rosenthal, D-Houston. “What we see in this internal audit – done by the self-examining department.” – is that we only get a small insight into the systemic problems of this department. This really indicates the need for external supervision. ”
Lawyers for relatives of the killed couple alleged that the undercover department had not examined the exam deep enough.
“As bad as the audit is, it still avoids addressing the cover-up of the origin and the top-notch response to the raid,” said Doyle, Nicholas’s family lawyer. “The big questions are” Why did this happen? “And” Why is the city still fighting against our access to the evidence? ”
Smith, who represents Tuttle’s relatives, said the Harding Street scandal “is not happening in a vacuum.”
“It can only happen in an environment of pervasive, longstanding customs and practices of illegal activity that was known and tolerated at the highest level,” he said. “And this report does not address this critical issue.”
MEP Christina Morales, D-Houston, said she hoped HPD’s decision to release the audit was an important step in connecting trust to the public it serves.
“Without the previously promised continued transparency, it will be difficult for the HPD to restore confidence in our city,” she warned.