HOUSTON — Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announced Monday that the Houston Police Department is almost entirely eliminating its use of no-knock raids, following a fatal incident in which law enforcement officers relied on a no-knock warrant to raid the home of a couple who lived in Pecan Park. This resulted in the death of the couple and their dog, and injured five police officers. The raid took place because an experienced narcotics officer submitted a false affidavit based on information from a confidential informant whom investigators could not confirm actually existed, and obtained authorization to carry out the lethal no-knock raid. Chief Acevedo’s announcement comes on the heels of major public outcry.
Terri Burke, executive director for the ACLU of Texas had the following response:
“This is an important policy change from the police chief of one of America’s biggest cities. No-knock raids put both police officers and residents in extreme, unnecessary danger. We encourage other big-city chiefs—and other law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction in Houston—to take proactive steps to change these policies, rather than wait for tragedies to occur.
“This policy change is a major step in the right direction. Additionally, we expect Chief Acevedo to demand accountability from those in the raid. His support of proportionate consequences for those responsible, up to and including dismissal and criminal prosecution, should include public transparency about all the elements that contributed to this tragic event and a commitment to make any further policy changes needed to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”