HOUSTON — The two former Houston police officers arrested in the Harding Street raid, which left two people dead and drew harsh criticism of the department's no-knock policy, are now facing federal charges from the FBI along with a recently named third suspect.
Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant, who were already facing charges from the Harris County District Attorney's office, appeared in court Wednesday after being arrested on federal charges from the FBI.
A federal jury returned a nine-count indictment Nov. 14 that was unsealed Wednesday and authorities took the former officers and resident Patricia Ann Garcia, 53, into custody.
It's the first we're learning of a third person who was allegedly involved. Prosecutors said Garcia made several fake 9-1-1 calls, including one on Jan. 8, claiming her daughter was inside the home on Harding street. That was 20 days before the fatal raid that claimed the lives of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas.
According to the indictment, Garcia told officials the residents were addicts and drug dealers and had machine guns inside the home. The indictment said those claims were false.
Goines is also accused of making numerous false statements in obtaining the search warrant used in the raid and in the investigation afterwards. He is charged with two counts of depriving the victims' constitutional right to be secure against unreasonable searches and three separate counts of obstructing an official proceeding.
Goines and Bryant are also both charged with obstructing justice by falsifying records. Houston police chief Art Acevedo held a press conference on those arrests, addressing the department's role in the ongoing investigation.
“We made a commitment when this happened to this community to look at the good, the bad, and the ugly and report back, and today is another step in that journey,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
If convicted, Goines faces up to life in prison. Each obstruction count against Goines and Bryant carries a potential 20-year sentence. Garcia could be sentenced for five years on her charges.
Goines and Bryant are both still facing charges in Harris County. Goines is charged with two felony murders and Bryant is charged with tampering with a government document.