Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee is calling for the resignation of Police Chief Art Acevedo.
In a letter sent to our TV partner KPRC Channel-2, the high-profile River Oaks attorney said, "This mayor hired the chief, he now needs to ask him to resign."
Questions are mounting over a controversial drug raid that left two suspects dead, and four Houston Police officers wounded. The agent who obtained the warrant could soon face criminal charges, because confidential informants used to justify that warrant now deny they ever bought drugs at the house. The Harris County DA's office is preparing to present the case to a grand jury to determine whether charges should be filed.
Buzbee's statement adds, "accountability starts at the top."
Meanwhile, law enforcement and political leaders faced angry residents in a town hall meeting over last month's deadly drug raid. But while neighbors are mad... so is Chief Acevedo...
"If you think you're mad, I'm here to tell you, you ain't no more mad than I am... There is no excuse. You do not lie about anything under oath as a police officer."
Neighbors say they want officers charged with murder, but Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg says that's premature...
"What charge is going to be presented will be based upon the evidence; and the evidence is still being collected."
Acevedo says he's all but eliminating the use of so-called "no knock" warrants, which will now require a special exemption from his office.
"I would say I'm 99.99-percent sure that we won't be using them. I don't see the value in them."
Here is Buzbee's complete statement to KPRC:
“In the Marines when there is a colossal screwup, accountability starts at the top. This mayor hired the chief, he now needs to ask him to resign.
"The controversy stems from a botched shootout that left a couple in their late 50s, married more than two decades, and their dog, dead. An internal investigation has already revealed that the narcotic case agent, who obtained the warrant for the 'no-knock' entry, lied about the activity underlying the warrant, and at least one other officer attempted to cover up that lie.
"It is also now known that this narcotic case agent, Gerald Goines, was already facing accusations of fabrication, even before the botched operation. According to the Houston Chronicle: 'Goines is currently accused of fabricating a drug deal, then lying about it in court to win a conviction against a man who has long maintained his innocence.'
“For a moment, put aside the chief’s duty to the citizens of Houston to protect them and to have systems in place to ferret out those rare bad cops; consider the morale of the 99 percent of Houston police officers who are out on the streets honestly doing the right thing, every day. They work hard, put their lives on the line, and face constant scrutiny by the public. They put their trust in the police chief to do his job and protect their reputation as a police force. He failed them, and all of us.
“The mayor needs to make sure this city stands behind its police force, but at the same time will deal harshly with a bad cop who lies to obtain a warrant, resulting in the death of two citizens and the shooting of other police. This mayor needs to seek the chief’s resignation, now. There are a lot of good police he can choose from to fill the position, because hiring from within is always better-in my view. I’ll also say I am confident that the rank and file police officers are just as disgusted by what happened as the citizens of Houston are. I’m also confident that the police will work, or are likely already working with outside authorities to ensure a thorough investigation is done not only in this case, but in all cases in which any bad cops were involved.”
Turner released a statement on the internal investigation:
“I endorse a full and thorough investigation into this matter to determine what did and did not take place, and I stress that this be completed as soon as possible. I will refrain from commenting about it until I have all facts before me.”