Family attorney says city is withholding evidence in Harding St. raid case

Attorneys for the family of a woman killed by police in the January Harding Street Raid are accusing the City of Houston of trying to run out the clock on a statute of limitations that would prevent them from filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The attorneys filed a motion for expedited consideration in appellate court Monday to try to speed up the review of an appeal filed by the city.

The family of Rhogena Nicholas is trying to get enough information to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Houston Police and the City of Houston, but they say the city is not turning that information over to them.

Attorneys for the Nicholas family tell FOX 26 the city is not releasing 911 records from the day of the botched raid, it's refusing to disclose results of the police department's investigation of the January 28 shooting, and the city is also not allowing the family attorneys to question the Houston Police employees who were in a supervisory role in the narcotics unit which committed the no-knock raid.

Attorneys Tim Lee and Mike Doyle say they need that information to file a lawsuit, but nearly ten months after Rhogena Nicholas and her husband Dennis Tuttle were shot and killed by police, the city is still not giving them access to the key evidence.

Instead, the city filed a notice of appeal several weeks ago. That's when the Nicholas family brought on the new attorney Tim Lee to try to prevent the city from filing multiple appeals that would potentially run out the two-year time limit for a wrongful death lawsuit. 

"The city has been uncooperative with respect to disclosing what they know about the Harding Street incident," said Lee. "There are several aspects of what has been determined that seem very very inconsistent with what has been heard from the city and from HPD as to how the raid evolved."

Doyle says the family brought in a private investigator who surveyed the home and found key evidence that Houston Police left behind, like the shell casing for the bullet that is believed to have killed Nicholas.

Doyle also says, based on the forensic evidence he has, there are serious questions as to whether Dennis Tuttle ever fired any shots at police. 

FOX 26 has reached out to Houston Police Dept. and the City of Houston to see if they have a response for these claims. They have not immediately sent FOX 26 a response.