Despite claims by Houston police that they engaged in a fierce gunfight with a couple they raided in January, a team of forensic investigators who spent four days in the house say there is no evidence the couple ever shot at police.
That contradicts the claim by Houston police that four cops were shot as they entered the home in what turned out to be a botched raid based on fabricated information.
The couple were killed and the cops were not wearing body cameras, so police probably did not expect evidence to surface that would contradict their claims.
According to the Houston Chronicle:
A four-day independent forensics review at 7815 Harding Street found a cache of evidence left behind by the city’s crime scene teams after a botched drug raid at the home left dead a couple suspected of selling drugs
Hired by the relatives of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle, the new forensics team found no signs the pair fired shots at police — and plenty of signs that previous investigators overlooked dozens of pieces of potential evidence in what one expert called a “sloppy” investigation.
“It doesn’t appear that they took the basic steps to confirm and collect the physical evidence to know whether police were telling the truth,” said attorney Mike Doyle, who is representing the Nicholas family. “That’s the whole point of forensic scene documentation. That’s the basic check on people just making stuff up.”
And it does not appear as if Houston police are conducting any type of “robust investigation” as Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo promised back in February after previous attempts of spin and deception failed.
It appears that they are doing just what we expected them to do, which is to let this drag out in the hopes people will forget about it.
Already the cop who lied on the search warrant and has a history of lying on search warrants has retired, so he’ll be collecting a pension when he probably should be sitting in prison.
The forensic experts found more inconsistencies:
Though police said they started shooting when the dog lunged as they came through the door, Maloney’s forensics team found that the dog was shot and killed at the edge of the dining room, 15 feet from the front door. Authorities never picked up the shotgun shell when they collected evidence.
And police said that Tuttle started firing at them, but Maloney’s team did not find clear evidence of that.
“The initial bullet trajectories appear to be somewhat contradictory,” said Louisiana-based attorney Chuck Bourque, who is also representing the Nicholas family. “We see no evidence that anybody inside the house was firing toward the door.”
Some of the bullet holes outside the house appeared at least a foot from the door, a fact that Doyle flagged as troubling.
“You can’t see into the house from there,” he said, “you’re firing into the house through a wall.”
The four-day investigation was led by independent forensic expert Mike Maloney, a retired supervisory special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.