Sat. Mar 6th, 2021

Juan A. By LOANANO, The Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) – A Houston police officer charged with murder following a fatal 2019 drug raid that killed a couple who were being targeted by a district attorney, against police vandalism last year nationwide His lawyer was charged on Tuesday for gaining political points in the wake of the protest.

Officer Felipe Galigos became the second officer convicted for murder after a January 2019 drug raid that killed 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle, and his wife, 58-year-old Rodena Nichols.

Galtigos’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said the officer was a “hero” who saved the lives of other officers who were being shot by Tuttle and who had nothing to do with the alleged defective search warrants, which led to the couple’s home Wrongly led.

In a brief statement during a news conference, Galigos told reporters that he “has not been given the opportunity to tell my side of the story, to be able to explain that I am not the bad person I am being portrayed to be.” I am. “

Galigos, who has been in the police department for 12 years and whose father is a suicide detective with a suburban Houston police agency, did not comment on the shooting.

Prosecutors have alleged that another officer, Gerald Goynes, lied to obtain a warrant to search the couple’s home that a confidential informant had bought heroin there. Goynes later said that there were no informers and had bought drugs himself, he alleged.

Five officers, including Goines, were injured in the raid, in which four were shot. Goin was charged last year in two counts of felony murder in the couple’s deaths.

Galigos was charged in the murder of Tuttle on Monday. Hardin said that when Tuttle started firing at officers, he stopped being an innocent victim.

Friends of Tuttle and Nicholas say they were not criminals and suggested that the couple may have thought they were being attacked by intruders. Michael Doyle, one of the Nicholas family’s lawyers, said in a statement that his ongoing independent investigation is questioning the police version of how the shooting happened.

The signs of Galigos, Goyins and other officers are part of an ongoing investigation into the Houston Police Department’s narcotics unit behind the raid. All in all, a dozen current and former officers associated with the unit have been indicted, most of whom lie on search warrants, misinformed reports of crime, and time sheets as part of a plan to obtain overtime. Includes allegations of lying.

An audit of the Narcotics Unit made public in July found that officers were often not thorough in their investigations and were overpaid informants for the seizure of small amounts of drugs.

Hardin said in the wake of last year’s death of George Floyd, who was pushed to the ground under the knee of a white Minneapolis officer before dying, previous wrongful attempts at racial injustice should not be anti-police.

“If you make police officers feel that they are now a minority surrounded in the United States, who are not just judges on their conduct, but judges on the conduct of others … you police officers under the same Are doing. The kinds of prejudice that “minorities have experienced, Hardin said.

In a separate news conference, Houston Police Officers Union President Douglas Griffith defended the officers concerned, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and his office called “nothing more than TV justice.”

The union was paying the legal fees of all the accused officers except Goins.

In a statement, Ogg said a grand jury “determined that Officer Felipe Galigos is not in fact a hero, but a murderer.”

In 2013, a truck driver accused Galigos and another officer of punching him and putting him in a chokehold while they searched for the robbery suspect. Hardin said Galigos denied using excessive force and that a complaint against the officer was not sustained by internal affairs. The truck driver later filed a lawsuit alleging injuries and the city of Houston settled it for $ 200,000 in 2018.

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

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