Harris County DA’s office wants more records from HPD on raids, confidential informants

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The fallout continues from a botched Houston police raid that killed a couple in their home back in January. Now the Harris County District Attorney's Office is demanding more records from the Houston Police Department, but not just the one's related to that incident. They want to know all about the Houston Police Department's confidential informants for the Harding Street shooting, and for other incidents dating back years.

Assistant District Attorney Natasha Sinclair sent a letter to HPD on Thursday, requesting all the records related to all confidential informants used by officers involved in the Harding Street shooting. The files requested include:

  • the names of informants
  • locations of buys
  • payouts to those informants
  • who approved those payments
  • who signed off on any operations

The scope of the request goes even further. The DA's office wants a list of all the confidential informants used by HPD Narcotics Squad 15 dating back to January 1, 2014.

HPD Chief Art Acevedo released a statement about the request.

"From the onset of the incident at 7815 Harding Street, the Houston Police Department (HPD), has worked cooperatively with the Harris County District Attorney's Office (HCDAO), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to ensure no stone is left unturned to determine the facts in this matter.

On May 15, 2019, HPD submitted our officer involved shooting investigation and criminal investigation related to the incident, and the matter remains in the hands of the HCDAO. 

Additionally, we have responded to all of the requests specifically related to the aforementioned investigations. With regard to the additional records sought by the HCDAO not specifically related to the Harding Street incident, and dating back many years, HPD has and will continue to work cooperatively with the HCDAO."

All of this stems from the botched raid back in January on Harding Street. Rhogena Nicholas and her husband, Dennis Tuttle were inside the home at the time. They were killed when shots rang out between them and police. Almost immediately after, an investigation was launched. It raised questions about whether two of the officers involved, Officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant, may have lied about some of the circumstances surrounding the raid, as well as other cases throughout their careers with HPD. Goines and Bryant were later relieved of duty, and then retired.

The Houston Police Department has until the end of Monday, June 24 to respond to the DA's request. If they don't, HPD will be served with grand jury subpoenas on June 25.

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