HOUSTON (FOX 26) - It’s an investigation the Harris County District Attorney’s Office says they need more eyes on. However, their request for more prosecutors to help them with that was rejected by the Harris County commissioner's court.
This all stems from a botched raid that happened back in January. Five officers were hurt and two people inside that home. Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle were killed. Now, thousands of other cases attached to officers in this case are under scrutiny, questioned over whether they were mishandled.
This is the second time DA Kim Ogg asked for more prosecutors this year. The first time was back in February, and her request for about 100 prosecutors was rejected. This time she was asking for much less but got the same result-- a vote of 3-2 turning down her proposal.
Natasha Sinclair was present at the hearing representing the DA’s office.
“The Harding investigation is massive and complex. Currently, we lack the resources to do the work. To do what the Nicholas and Tuttle families deserve,” she said.
The DA’s office says the Harding Street incident uncovered over 14,000 additional cases that have to be reviewed. They currently have only four prosecutors handling that work load, and requested 10 more be added to their staff. But the some in the hearing didn’t see it that way.
Adrian Garcia, Precinct 2 Commissoner, said “Yes it’s going to challenge your resources, but I think there is a good opportunity here to work with a combination of systems.”
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo was not shy about her feelings of this latest request.
“It is an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars to every time there is a headline have folks here. We can’t have departments lining up, violating our budgeting process, and our budget decisions,” said Hidalgo.
Two of the commissioners were willing to give the DA’s office at least some funding. Commissioner Steve Radack felt Judge Hidalgo was over looking the bigger issue as to why the funding was important telling her, “You don’t have a problem doubling the budget of public defenders, but when it comes to protecting law and order you have a real problem.“
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg released this statement on today's proceedings at Commissioners Court:
"My office remains dedicated to fully investigating the Harding Street shootings and will pursue justice no matter how long it takes. The surviving family members and our entire community deserve to know the truth sooner, not later. Unnecessary delay creates hardship for everyone associated with this tragedy."
If police misconduct led to the wrongful convictions of anyone, then every extra day served in the penitentiary waiting for justice increases the potential financial liability for Harris County taxpayers.