Family of woman killed in HPD raid says city owes them full explanation of what happened

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Thursday, September 10, 2020
Houston lawmakers discuss handling of investigation into botched raid
WATCH: Texas House of Representatives member Gene Wu calls for change after Wednesday's sudden release of the Harding Street audit.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The family of a woman killed in her home during a controversial drug raid by Houston police says the city is covering up the truth behind the incident and they want it to stop.

Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle were killed in their home on Harding Street on Jan. 28, 2019. Officers were serving a drug warrant that was later determined to be based on the word of an informant who never actually went to the house.

Relatives of Nicholas have now filed a brief asking the Texas Supreme Court to "force an end to the 19-month coverup of the incident by the City of Houston."

An attorney for the family claims the city does not have any legal precedent to withhold the testimony and evidence from relatives.

Attorney Michael Patrick Doyle asked, "What is the city so desperate to hide? Houstonians deserve to see what HPD did before, during, and after the out-of-control and unjustified attack on Rhogena at her home."

Rhogena's brother, John Nicholas, said, "Our family's search for the truth of what happened to Rhogena will continue - no matter what. Once again, she did not deserve to be executed in her own home by the Houston Police Department. The mayor and chief of police owe our family an explanation of what happened in the raid and with Narcotics Squad 15. Fighting us is not the answer. We are not going away."

Family of botched Harding Raid victim claims HPD is 'uncooperative'

In July, HPD released its report of the investigation behind the botched raid. State lawmakers blasted the Houston Police Department for investigating its own, claiming that audit was only a small part of a bigger problem.

READ: Full detailed narcotics division report

At the time, State Representative Gene Wu claimed, "This entire Narcotics Division audit debacle has been handled in the most unprofessional and obtuse way possible."

While the investigation is still ongoing, representatives believe this was an entire rogue division's wrongdoing.

"I'm more than just disappointed in what we've seen in the result of all of this. I'm disappointed that we had to coax this tiny bit of transparency. We just get a tiny little peek into the systemic issues this department has," State Rep. John Rosenthal said.

Criminal felony charges have been filed against former Houston narcotics officers by the Harris County District Attorney's Office in the ongoing investigation of the botched raid. Allegations include using false information to get judges to sign search warrants, falsifying time sheets, putting false information in offense reports, and falsifying government documents to steal, prosecutors have determined.

ABC13 has reached out to the Houston Police Department for a response to the family's claims. We have not yet heard back.

The video provided at the top of this article is from a previous report.


State lawmakers call HPD botched Harding Street raid audit a 'scam'

Grand jury indicts ex-HPD officers involved in botched raid

6 former HPD officers charged with 15 felonies linked to deadly botched raid

Family of woman killed in botched raid says HPD is 'uncooperative'