A former Houston Police Department narcotics officer has been charged with murder, nearly seven months after a botched drug raid left a couple dead and unleashed a sprawling police scandal.
Ex-case agent Gerald Goines on Friday was charged with two counts of felony murder in the Jan. 28 deaths of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas and is still under investigation over claims he stole guns, drugs and money, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced at a news conference downtown. His partner, Steven Bryant, was charged with one count of evidence tampering, a state jail felony.
Ogg said that as investigators probed the case, they determined that Goines first lied about using a confidential informant to buy heroin; then claimed to have bought the drugs himself; then lied about who identified the drugs; and finally admitted that he couldn’t determine whether Tuttle was the same person from whom he allegedly purchased the drugs.
Ogg also said that after the shooting, Bryant lied in an offense report about helping Goines with the investigation and falsely claimed that they’d recovered a plastic bag that contained a white napkin and two small packets of heroin.
Because the deaths occurred in the course of another alleged felony — tampering with a government record — Goines was charged with felony murder.
Unlike a regular murder charge, felony murder doesn’t require showing that the defendant intended to kill. Instead, prosecutors just have to show that, while committing another felony, the defendant committed an act clearly dangerous to human life — in this case, the execution of a no-knock warrant — and that it resulted in a death.
The two former officers both turned themselves in Friday in court, where a judge set Goines’ bond at $300,000 and Bryant’s at $50,000. Aside from the arrests, prosecutors said they are conducting a broader investigation into the squad and a review of more than 14,000 cases.
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — One shows the prisoner nude and strapped to a crude gurney, his entire body clenched as he is waterboarded by an unseen interrogator. Another shows him with his wrists cuffed to bars so high above his head he is forced on to his tiptoes, with a long wound stitched on his left leg and a howl emerging from his open mouth. Yet another depicts a captor smacking his head against a wall.
They are sketches drawn in captivity by the Guantánamo Bay prisoner known as Abu Zubaydah, self-portraits of the torture he was subjected to during the four years he was held in secret prisons by the C.I.A.
Published here for the first time, they are gritty and highly personal depictions that put flesh, bones and emotion on what until now had sometimes been portrayed in popular culture in sanitized or inaccurate ways: the so-called enhanced interrogations techniques used by the United States in secret overseas prisons during a feverish pursuit of Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In each illustration, Mr. Zubaydah — the first person to be subject to the interrogation program approved by President George W. Bush’s administration — portrays the particular techniques as he says they were used on him at a C.I.A. black site in Thailand in August 2002.
Denbeaux, Mark and Haire, Stephanie Moreno and Laing, Tatiana and Guldner, Kristofer and Pope-Ragoonanan, Denera and Casner, Adam and Lewbel, Brett and Paulson, Timothy and Profeta, Timothy and Sobh, Jade and Waters, Niki and Zahriyeh, Bayan, How America Tortures (November 27, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3494533 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3494533
Americans may find it difficult to acknowledge that top officials in the West Wing of the White House and the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice orchestrated and poorly oversaw a horrific torture program that was responsible for the detention and interrogation of countless detainees. Seventeen years ago, the White House and the Department of Justice created a torture program and, through a series of legal memoranda, attempted to immunize Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents from criminal liability.
The language was formal, legalistic, antiseptic, and euphemistic. That, combined with vague definitions of the techniques, disguised the extent of abuse the memos were approving and/or permitting. For many years, virtually no attention has been paid to the specific details of the techniques that were used in America’s name and too little investigation has gone into the specific uses that the CIA made of these techniques.
This report presents the specific details of what the torture memos permitted and most importantly, how the techniques were implemented and applied. This report is based on information from many of those who were tortured under the program, including Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn (Abu Zubaydah), as well as many CIA cables, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report, and numerous other government documents.
The torture memos described the ten techniques that were designed and approved to torture one person, Abu Zubaydah. All ten techniques were used upon him and, while he has not been allowed to speak, some of his descriptions of those experiences were declassified. They have not been previously examined. The descriptions by Abu Zubaydah of some of the torture techniques is attached as an appendix. The text incorporates parts of his description and when it is included in the text it is always bolded.
As compelling as the verbal descriptions of the techniques are, this report publishes the first visual representation of how the torture techniques were performed. The graphic representations are the original works of the man for whom the torture was designed, Abu Zubaydah. Because they have never been published before and because of their historical importance, all eight graphics are presented in full at the beginning of this report. The same graphics are also included in the text where they most appropriately belong.
In addition, the CIA’s cables from the beginning of Abu Zubaydah’s torture have also become available and this report allows the reader to see the application of the techniques not only as defined, but as applied, and not only from the CIA’s perspective but also from the perspective of the tortured. This report integrates Abu Zubaydah’s descriptions from the earliest days of his torture with the CIA cables that described those days from the CIA’s perspective.
The report will first address persistent conditions which were employed broadly against detainees, followed by an in depth look at each approved torture technique. Finally, the report will address several techniques not specifically approved, but which played a key role in advancing the program.
Overall, this report will illustrate how the following factors led to the gross abuse of the torture program:
(1) the lack of clarity and purposeful ambiguity in defining what was allowed and what was not allowed during interrogations;
(2) the failure by the government to account for the use of persistent techniques and unapproved techniques alongside those that were approved; and
(3) the negligence and intentional disregard of the consequences of such a torture program.
I was a police officer for nearly ten years and I was a bastard. We all were.
This essay has been kicking around in my head for years now and I’ve never felt confident enough to write it. It’s a time in my life I’m ashamed of. It’s a time that I hurt people and, through inaction, allowed others to be hurt. It’s a time that I acted as a violent agent of capitalism and white supremacy. Under the guise of public safety, I personally ruined people’s lives but in so doing, made the public no safer… so did the family members and close friends of mine who also bore the badge alongside me.
But enough is enough.
The reforms aren’t working. Incrementalism isn’t happening. Unarmed Black, indigenous, and people of color are being killed by cops in the streets and the police are savagely attacking the people protesting these murders.
American policing is a thick blue tumor strangling the life from our communities and if you don’t believe it when the poor and the marginalized say it, if you don’t believe it when you see cops across the country shooting journalists with less-lethal bullets and caustic chemicals, maybe you’ll believe it when you hear it straight from the pig’s mouth.