The fallout continues from the botched drug raid in Houston back in January that left two suspects dead, several officers wounded, and the police union scrambling for answers. Now, multiple officers involved in the case have filed for retirement, while another has been relieved of duty. Nevertheless, they stand to collect their substantial police officer's pension.
Exodus of Officers Involved in Botched Drug Raid
The Houston narcotics officer who was responsible for the drug purchase that led to the deadly raid – a drug purchase that might not have happened – has filed for retirement from the Houston police force. Officer Gerald Goines was a 34-year veteran with, according to news reports, a 288-page personnel file that included lots of commendations and plenty of controversies, red flags, and written reprimands for shoddy evidence work in drug cases. Those problems led the District Attorney to order a review of all of Officer Goines' 1,400 drug cases, including a handful of currently pending charges.
Another officer in the Houston Police Department has also filed for early retirement. Officer Steven Bryant, who was Goines' partner for a number of years, has also submitted his paperwork. Eight hundred of the drug cases that Bryant was involved in have also been brought back up for review by the District Attorney.
A third officer, Angel August, has also been relieved of duty, with pay, for apparently trying to cover up the incident.
Retiring Protects Officers' Pensions
The two officers that are retiring will be able to protect their exceptionally high pension plans from the Houston Police Department. Those pensions amount to up to 60 percent of the average of the annual salaries earned by the officer over the last three years. That pension would be paid annually, for the rest of the officer's life.
According to officer Bryant's attorney, retiring from the force avoids the situation where an officer would have to either lie to an internal investigation or invoke their Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination – both of which would likely lead to their termination from the force.
Needless to say, the fact that officers who are under investigation – both internally by the Houston Police Department and by the FBI – have an option on the table that would insulate their pensions from their on-the-job misconduct is disconcerting. In officer Goines' case, that misconduct is being investigated as a crime.
Houston Drug Defense Attorney Doug Murphy
These officers have taken incredible liberties to abuse their power. That they got away with it for decades is a problem; that they can still retire and collect the substantial pension that police officers in Houston look forward to – even while they are under investigation – is disgusting. When workers in other fields are found to be doing something illegal while on the clock, they get fired and blackballed. Police officers should be treated no differently.
Doug Murphy is a drug defense lawyer serving people accused of a drug crime in Houston. When police are allowed to fabricate evidence of a drug crime and then retire with full benefits and no real consequences, hiring a defense lawyer to fight a drug crime becomes even more important. Contact him online or call his Houston law office at (713) 229-8333.