Houston commits $1.2 million for legal defense in Harding Street Raid lawsuit

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Houston City Council April 28 approved a $1.2 million contract with law firm Beck Redden LLP to serve as the city’s representation in a lawsuit stemming from a botched 2019 Houston Police Department narcotics raid. (Courtesy Pexel)

Houston City Council April 28 approved a $1.2 million contract with law firm Beck Redden LLP to serve as the city’s representation in a lawsuit stemming from a botched 2019 Houston Police Department narcotics raid. (Courtesy Pexel)

Houston City Council April 28 approved a $1.2 million contract with law firm Beck Redden LLP to serve as the city’s representation in a lawsuit stemming from a botched 2019 Houston Police Department narcotics raid.

The incident led to the deaths of a Southeast Houston couple, Dennis Tuttle and Rhongena Nicholas, and ultimately the indictments of several Houston Police officers.

An internal investigation determined the no-knock raid that killed the couple was based on faulty evidence and resulted in a sweeping audit of the Houston Police Department’s narcotics division. The incident took place in 2019 under then-chief Art Acevedo’s tenure. He was recently succeeded by Chief Troy Finner after accepting a position leading the Miami police department.

City Council approved the contract 14-3 with council members Tarsha Jackson, Letitia Plummer and Michael Kubosh opposing. Jackson and Plummer both cited concerns with the city’s role defending the department’s actions although Plummer acknowledged that the city is legally obligated to do so, as written in Houston’s charter.

“We have to start doing things differently,” Jackson said. “If I vote yes, it’s like I’m supporting a system that allows people to act up and not be held accountable.”


Council Member Michael Kubosh said he opposed the vote due to a perceived lack of diversity within the law firm representing the city. Beck Redden is, however, partnering with The Odom Lawfirm, a minority-owned firm.

Among the supporters of the contract was Council Member Greg Travis who said choosing the firm was the best way to represent the city.

“Beck Redden is one of the top firms in the city,” Travis said. “They have an impeccable reputation”
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


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