Texas House Votes Overwhelmingly in Favor of Restricting No-Knock Warrants

antoniodiaz / shutterstock.com
antoniodiaz / shutterstock.com

The Texas House of Representatives has voted in an overwhelming fashion to pass new restrictions on no-knock warrants in the state. No-knock warrants are a fundamental violation of a person’s Second Amendment right to self-defense in their own home.

These awful warrants pit police officers, sheriffs, and others in direct odds with what the Supreme Court recognizes as a core principle of the Second Amendment—which is that you have an absolute right to shoot at a home invader. Texas is now one of a growing number of states that is finally starting to curtail this wretched practice, which often results in the deaths of innocents.

Texas has good reasons to restrict no-knock warrants after one of the worst examples of police malpractice in American history took place there a few years ago. Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas were a middle-aged couple living together in Houston in 2019. They were working poor, but friendly and kind people according to all of their neighbors.

They were in a dispute with one of their neighbors, who appears to be a crazy person. That woman began placing repeated 911 calls, claiming that Tuttle and Nicholas were heroin dealers. Even if they were heroin dealers, that’s not an “emergency” that warrants a 911 call, so the Houston PD handles it differently. They go through the process of getting a no-knock warrant so they can raid the place before real drug dealers flush their dope down the toilet and so on.

But the couple were not heroin dealers. They had no criminal history to suggest that they were.

Gerald Goines, a veteran narcotics officer in charge of an elite police unit, filed a false affidavit to obtain a no-knock warrant, on the grounds that Tuttle and Nicholas were heroin dealers, and it would place police officers’ lives in danger if they were to just knock on the door like police do in civilized countries. Again—Officer Goines lied to a court in an affidavit, claiming he had evidence that Tuttle and Goines were dealing heroin.

Dennis Tuttle was asleep in a back bedroom of the home, and Rhogena Nicholas was on the couch in the living room asleep when Goines’ team breached their front door. Their dog started barking immediately, so the police officer on point shot and killed the dog. Imagine waking up to chaos, noise, and gunfire in your home, as Dennis Tuttle did that night.

He did what millions of Americans in that same situation would do. He grabbed his pistol off the nightstand, stepped out into the hallway, and shot at the people who were violently attacking his home. None of the cops identified themselves as police during the raid.

Dennis Tuttle was gunned down in his hallway. The cops were so reckless that they shot up the house like it was a movie about John Dillinger. Officers shot through the wall of the home from outside, with no clear sight picture of who they were shooting at. Rhogena Nicholas, who was unarmed, was killed by those rounds. They shot her through the wall.

Gerald Goines is facing state and federal charges for getting an innocent couple killed in a no-knock raid. Not only do innocent people like Tuttle and Nicholas get raided on false affidavits, but police units often show up at the wrong address. It happens all the time in states where this anti-Second Amendment policy is in place.

Fortunately, there is bipartisan support for severely restricting these types of raids in Texas. It looks like the bill will easily pass in the state Senate. Texas will then join Florida, Virginia, and Oregon as the only states where citizens have added protections against being killed by the cops in these outrageous raids.