The fallout in the Houston Police Department from the deadly drug raid in the Pecan Hills neighborhood last month continues. Now, the FBI is investigating the case, and the Harris County District Attorney is reviewing all of the cases involving the police officer, who has yet to be charged for falsifying reports or lying under oath.
How We Got Here: Did Informant Behind Deadly Drug Raid Ever Exist?
We covered the details of the botched drug raid in our blog before, including how the police aggressively doubled down to protect its wounded officers before changing their tune when it came out that the officer behind the case may have fabricated the drug buy that led to the search warrant.
As the investigation continues, evidence is increasingly indicating that the narcotics officer, 34-year veteran Gerald Goines, made up the drug purchase that led to the search warrant and the failed drug bust. Police have been unable to find the informant that made the purchase, and Goines has made inconsistent statements about the informant's identity.
FBI Launches Investigation
Now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into the situation. The civil rights wing of the Bureau announced that it would conduct its own independent investigation into whether officer Goines lied in the affidavits that led to the drug raid. The FBI is also likely to look into whether the practice of falsifying affidavits in order to get search warrants is an ongoing practice in the Houston Police Department.
Prosecutors Review All of Officer's Past Work
In the wake of officer Goines' apparent lies, Harris County prosecutors have decided to review more than 1,400 cases that involved his work over the past three decades, including 27 that are currently pending. Officer Goines' work is integral to many of these cases – if he lied in those cases, as well, it could mean that innocent people are facing serious criminal accusations, or have already spent time in jail for a drug offense that they did not commit.
Unclear if Officer Will Face Criminal Charges for Falsifying Evidence or other Charges
So far, it is unclear if officer Goines will face criminal charges for his conduct. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has said that Goines would be charged with a crime, and that he would be relieved from duty once he leaves the hospital. However, Goines has been released from the hospital, still seems to have his badge, and has not been charged with anything yet.
Goines' lawyer has claimed that any charges her client will face will be politically motivated and that Goines is being “set up” to take the fallout from the botched drug raid. She has also claimed that Goines' side of the story will explain everything but cannot come out because his jaw has been wired shut to treat the wound he suffered in the raid.
While throwing doubt on the accusations is part of what a criminal defense lawyer does, accusing the entire system of bias is a bold claim to make. It is also unclear why Goines cannot express his side of the story in writing.