A Texas grand jury prosecuted a Houston policeman Monday on a murder charge and arraigned 8 other existing and former officers in what authorities described as a long-term scheme to take overtime cash that was found after an investigation of a deadly 2019 raid.
Officer Felipe Gallegos was prosecuted on a charge of murder in the Jan. 28, 2019, killing of Dennis Tuttle, 59, after members of a Houston Police Department narcotics squad performed a drug raid at his home, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told reporters.
Tuttle’s partner, Rhogena Nicholas, 58, and their pet were likewise killed in a shootout with authorities.
The other officers indicted Monday face first- and second-degree charges of taking part in organized criminal activity, theft by a public servant and damaging governmental records. They are Oscar Pardo, Cedell Lovings, Nadeem Ashraf, Clemente Reyna, Thomas Wood, Frank Medina, Griff Maxwell and Hodgie Armstrong, Ogg stated.
Numerous of the officers were formerly charged in the messed up raid. Another officer, Gerald Goines, was charged in 2015 with 2 counts of murder in the case. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $150,000 bail. Goines’ partner was likewise jailed at the time.
3 of the officers prosecuted Monday are retired, Ogg’s workplace said. The status of one officer is uncertain, and the rest are still utilized by the police department, Ogg’s workplace stated.
The department did not instantly react to a request for comment. The president of the Houston Authorities Officers’ Union declined to comment.
” The repercussions of corruption are that 2 innocent people and their pet were shot to death in their home by police,” Ogg stated, adding that 4 officers were shot and one was disabled.
The raid happened after Goines was alleged to have actually lied to a judge to acquire a “no knock” warrant to search the home of Tuttle and Nichols, Ogg stated. An examination touched off by the firefight revealed that officers were involved in the scheme to steal overtime funds, she said.
Ogg did not offer extra information about the plan, saying more information would be released in court procedures. All but among the present and former officers was part of Narcotics Squad 15, she said.
An attorney for Gallegos, Rusty Hardin, declined to comment. A lawyer for Reyna, Lisa Andrews, called the charge of taking part in arranging criminal activity a “ridiculous perversion of the law” and accused Ogg of attempting to score political points by arraigning police officers.
” Sgt. Reyna, after dedicating 30 years of unblemished service to the Houston Cops Department, eagerly anticipates his day in court, where Ogg’s corrupt political prosecution will be exposed,” she stated.
A lawyer for Wood, Edward McClees, called the charges “wholly unproven” and stated a jury will acquit him. A legal representative for Armstrong did not right away react to requests for remark and efforts to reach the other officers were unsuccessful.
Tim Stelloh is a press reporter for NBC News based in California.