HOUSTON - Following this week's indictments of six more of his officers, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is responding to the allegations that his officers organized a scheme to steal overtime pay from the city of Houston.
Acevedo said the department will launch an administrative investigation, two years after the botched drug raid on Harding Street killed two Houstonians.
During a news conference Wednesday, Acevedo responded to the felony indictments of six more of his officers this week -- one for murder and five others for scheming to steal overtime from the city.
Thursday marks two years to the day when Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas were shot and killed during that no-knock drug raid.
"The investigation into the overtime was ongoing. It’s the criminal investigation that takes precedence. I’m not going to do things internally that would hamper the DA’s investigation, that’s something we always try to be sensitive of," Acevedo said.
"Would I be surprised that they’ve charged people with allegedly stealing overtime per say — that would not surprise me. I’ve seen that happened in law enforcement including departments I’ve run in. We’ve actually fired people here before," Acevedo continued.
Mike Doyle, the attorney representing the family of Rhogena Nicholas, said Acevedo’s comments reveal a concerning oversight about the police department.
"If true, it’s stealing money from taxpayers for not doing work. That’s a disturbing picture. But that's obviously not the family's main concern at this point. What it does show is a department that's just not being managed properly that appears to be out of control. Two years later, it says oh, I guess we’ll look into this potential that all these people are engaged in organized theft. $30,000 to $150,000, we’ll get around to it. That's not a picture of management that I think anybody is comfortable with," Doyle said.
Doyle is working with the attorneys representing the family of Dennis Tuttle to file a civil lawsuit Thursday. The move marks two years to the day the couple was shot and killed during a no-knock narcotics raid at their Harding Street home.
"From the beginning, the chief of police and the mayor called these folks dirtbags and scum bags and there was a reason for being there. It kind of suggests pretty clearly that they got what they deserve. I can’t tell you how painful that is for the family to keep hearing that, particularly when the FBI and the US attorney fully investigated and said all this drug dealer stuff is just a lie. It’s not true and to kind of hear this repeated over and over again by the chief of police even after all this, is really heartbreaking for the family " Doyle said.
Both families, friends, neighbors, and witnesses are expected to speak at a news conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.