The drug war has corrupted law enforcement across the nation by financially incentivizing cops to conduct raids, usually for drug and prostitution cases where they can seize and forfeit the assets of the accused. And when there aren’t any crimes happening to cash in on, the police sometimes concoct them for their own ends.
It appears that is the situation that took place in Houston, and it turned deadly. A falsified search warrant was allegedly used in a drug raid that turned deadly. Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle were killed during the raid gone awry while law enforcement personnel were severely wounded. The FBI is currently conducting an investigation into the matter.
— FBI Houston (@FBIHouston) February 20, 2019
Officer Gerald Goines was shot in the neck during the raid that he orchestrated. He claimed that a confidential informant, believed now to be non-existent, found a substantial amount of drugs there. From there, a deadly no knock warrant was issued. The bedlam that resulted was beyond tragic, and no drugs were ever found at the scene.
CBS News explains the horrifying but inevitable consequences of federal drug policy:
“Officer Gerald Goines, who prepared the search warrant, has since been suspended and it’s likely he will face criminal charges, [Houston police chief Art] 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.
“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.”
Acevedo also claims that no knock raids will be limited in the future and body cams will be implemented to create more accountability and prevent a tragedy like this from happening again, but the reforms will be to no avail. As long as the federal war on drugs is still ongoing, these types of instances will continue to happen.
While there has been a great deal of progress made on the marijuana front, federal prohibition remains a fact of life, and we will have to continue dealing with its various consequences. Two likely innocent men are dead, and many police officers were put into harm’s way needlessly, to push senseless laws that are illicit, unconstitutional, and a proven failure.