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DA reviewing 1,400 cases linked to Houston officer accused of lying to justify deadly drug raid

Houston -- The Harris County district attorney will review 1,400 criminal cases linked to a Houston detective accused of lying in a police affidavit that justified a deadly drug raid last month. The FBI has also launched a federal civil rights investigation into the Jan. 28 raid that led to the deaths of 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, who both lived in the Houston home. Four officers were shot in the gunfight and another was injured but not shot.

Houston police chief Art Acevedo revealed last week that an investigation into the drug raid found a 30-year veteran of the force lied in an affidavit when he claimed that a confidential informant obtained heroin from the home. After the raid, police said they found several firearms at the home, along with marijuana and cocaine, but Atno heroin.

Officer Gerald Goines, who prepared the search warrant, has since been suspended and it's likely he will face criminal charges, Acevedo said. A leaked affidavit indicated the heroin was actually obtained elsewhere and alleged other elements of Goines' account began to unravel as police investigated.

In a statement Wednesday, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said her review will look at the 1,400 cases spanning decades that involved Goines. Twenty-seven of those cases are active. Acevedo has pledged to cast a "wide net" as his department probes Goines' actions and whether they may have affected other cases.

Officers holding photos of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, who were killed during a drug raid in Houston on Jan. 28, 2019. KHOU

"Our duty is to see that justice is done in every case," Ogg said in the statement. "Although the criminal investigation of Officer Goines is ongoing, we have an immediate ethical obligation to notify defendants and their lawyers in Goines' other cases to give them an opportunity to independently review any potential defenses."

At a press conference Wednesday, Acevedo said he "welcomes" the federal civil rights investigation, which the FBI also announced on Wednesday. FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner pledged in a statement to "collect all facts and evidence" in an impartial manner to determine whether federal charges are warranted.

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the drug raid will also be investigated by the city's Independent Police Oversight Board.   

"I want all of these investigations to move along as quickly as possible so that we can begin to restore and heal our city," Turner said.  

Acevedo said he has moved to restrict the use of "no-knock" warrants -- which justify police entering homes without notice -- except in circumstances where they are approved himself or by two other high-level department officials.

Acevedo also announced a new policy for undercover officers to wear body cameras during raids.

Acevedo insisted last week that investigators did have reason to investigate the home and were not there "willy nilly." Authorities still believe Tuttle and Nicholas were involved in criminal activity, but Acevedo said the case now is undermined.

He said lying in a sworn affidavit is "totally unacceptable."

"From day one, when I joined this department, I told my people that  if you lie, you die," Acevedo said.

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