Four more retired Houston Police Department employees were arrested and 15 additional felony charges were set to be filed against officers and supervisors in the narcotics squad tied to Gerald Goines, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Friday.
Retired Sgt. Clemente Reyna, retired Sgt. Thomas Wood, retired Lt. Robert Gonzales and retired officer Hodgie Armstrong were all set to be charged, and additional charges were being brought against Gerald Goines — the former officer at the center of the deadly botched Harding Street raid — and former officer Steven Bryant.
The new charges include allegations that officers and supervisors used false information to obtain search warrants, falsified time sheets, lied in offense reports, and “falsified government documents to steal,” Ogg said. In addition, Ogg said supervisors signed documents indicating they saw Goines and other officers pay confidential informants for buying drugs, despite not being there.
“Some will say that this scheme is just mismanagement,” Ogg said at a press conference Wednesday. “It is not. It is long-running evidence of graft and corruption that can literally rot an institution from the inside out.”
The charges only go back to 2017, due to the statute of limitations, Ogg added.
Investigators and civil rights prosecutors have been working since May 2019 to review about 14,000 cases involving Goines and Squad 15 of HPD’s narcotics division, after the former officer allegedly lied in order to obtain a search warrant for a home in Pecan Park, at 7815 Harding St. Both 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas and 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle were shot to death in the subsequent raid, and their deaths were later ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.
Goines allegedly said a confidential informant had tipped him off to the Harding Street home. A subsequent investigation found there was no such informant, according to the DA.
The DA’s review has already cleared two men previously convicted based on Goines’ testimony, and other ongoing cases have been dismissed, according to the DA’s office. Ogg’s office has also reached out to hundreds of other people who were convicted of crimes based on Goines’ testimony.
One of those hundreds was a 2004 drug case against George Floyd, the former Houston resident whose shooting death by police in Minneapolis sparked worldwide protests against police brutality, according to public records.
Goines had previously been charged with felony murder and tampering with government records, while Bryant, a former colleague of Goines, was also charged with tampering with a government document in connection with the raid.
In total, the charges are:
- Officer Gerald Goines – Three charges of tampering with a government record (search warrants.) Third-Degree Felony, two to 10 years in prison. One charge of theft by a public servant between $2,500 and $30,000, Third-Degree Felony.
- Officer Steven Bryant –Two charges of tampering with a government record (confidential informant forms which contain details of money allegedly given to informants for services or buying drugs.) State Jail Felony, six months to two years in jail. One charge of theft by a public servant between $2,500 and $30,000, a Third-Degree Felony.
- Sgt. Clemente Reyna – Three charges of tampering with a government record (confidential informant forms.) State Jail Felony. One charge of theft by a public servant between $2,500 and $30,000, Third-Degree Felony.
- Sgt. Thomas Wood – One charge of tampering with a government record (confidential informant form.) State Jail Felony. One charge of theft by a public servant between $2,500 and $30,000, Third-Degree Felony.
- Lt. Robert Gonzales – One charge of misapplication of fiduciary property, State Jail Felony, for the reckless handling of HPD money. Gonzales held a position of trust and was required to verify and authorize any expenditures of up to $2,500.
- Officer Hodgie Armstrong – one charge of tampering with a government record (offense report,) State Jail Felony.
The DA said she planned to impanel a Harris County grand jury this month, “so long as COVID-19 permits.”
Ogg said the new charges showed a pattern of “lying and deceit.”
“The crimes themselves are the very context for Harding Street,” Ogg said in a press conference Wednesday.