Family files lawsuit on two-year anniversary of Harding Street raid

It was exactly two years ago today that a Houston husband and wife were killed inside their own home, revealing alleged corruption within the Houston Police Department. On this anniversary of the shooting deaths of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, a civil lawsuit has been filed against the City of Houston, Police Chief Art Acevedo and several current and former Houston police officers.   

"This is a sad day for our family," says Nicholas’ brother John Nicholas.  

Family members of Rhogena Nicholas say they've filed the civil lawsuit to get answers about why Nicholas and Tuttle were killed in their Harding Street home in a no-knock raid two years ago. "They keep saying Dennis was shooting at them. I saw the pictures of the original autopsy. He wasn’t nowhere close to the door," says John Nicholas.


"Rhogena Nicholas was fatally wounded on her own couch in her own home by a Houston Police officer firing through a wall from a position where he couldn’t see her.," says Nicholas family attorney Mike Doyle.

According to the lawsuit "HPD illegally entered the house (and) illegally initiated deadly force" using a "tactic" that unit utilized before. The lawsuit continues "Squad 15 escalated the attack by firing their weapons and killing Nicholas’ dog". 

"And once the dog was shot they said 'shots fired' and they just started shooting. This is what I think happened," adds Rhogena Nicholas’ brother who says he's forced to speculate because stories about why officers were even there continue to change, which is said to be taking a toll on his mom.

"She sees on the television Chief Acevedo proclaiming her daughter and son in law were running a major heroin operation out of the home," says another Nicholas family attorney Chuck Bourque.  

"These weren’t drug dealers. This was a family," adds Doyle. Twelve of the Houston Police officers who participated in the raid have been charged with crimes ranging from Murder to civil rights violations. That includes six officers who were just charged on Monday. 

"What happened was not an accident by two bad apples. This was the culmination of years and years of preying on our communities," says Doyle. 

"This is a case with a lot of intricacies. There are a lot of complexities and I think you have to be very careful before you draw any conclusions," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. 

The mayor also says the investigation is still ongoing. 

Family members say two years after the deadly raid and they still have no idea why the officers were there in the first place. Four officers were shot in the raid. One who was left paralyzed is also one of the twelve charged.