Last month’s deadly no-knock drug raid conducted by Houston police officers left the community in shock. Two people were killed and five officers wounded in the botched raid.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said recently in a press conference that the FBI has launched a civil rights investigation into the conduct of officers involved. Acevedo said the HPD criminal investigation into the deaths will continue, even as he said new policies will help the department avoid future drug arrest fatalities.
Acevedo said the department has “uncovered some malfeasance” and that HPD has “cast a wide net to make sure we identify any problems, most importantly procedures and methods so we can avoid things like this in the future."
Mayor Sylvester Turner stood beside Acevedo, saying that he has confidence in the chief, who he said is a “change agent.” He also emphasized that there will be “a full, complete, thorough, and credible investigation” and that people will be held “accountable if there’s wrongdoing.”
Acevedo said a new policy will significantly reduce the use of no-knock raids and that in the future, only a select few top officials will be able to give the go-ahead to no-knock warrant requests. Eventually, he said, “no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city.”
The president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union said the organization supports the change in policy.
In the fatal Jan. 28 raid, undercover narcotics officers burst into a southeast Houston home to arrest a man suspected of drug trafficking. Instead, a shootout took place in which two people were killed and four officers wounded. Investigators found no heroin or evidence of drug-dealing at the home, just small amounts of marijuana and cocaine.
An internal Houston police investigation found that the lead officer allegedly falsified information for the search warrant used in the no-knock raid.
Let’s hope that in the future, there are no similar tragedies in our city.