HOUSTON – The felony indictment of Houston Police Department narcotics Officer Felipe Gallegos is politically motivated and part of Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg’s anti-police agenda, stated attorneys for the 12-year department veteran officer.
During a news conference one day after the murder indictment was announced, Houston trial lawyer Rusty Hardin said the charges Officer Gallegos faces are the result of Ms. Ogg “jumping on the bandwagon” of a political issue to further her career.
“A Harris County grand jury, at the request of the District Attorney’s office, indicted a hero. No question about it. They indicted a hero,” said Mr. Hardin. “Everyone that was out there on August 28 of 2019 on Hardy Street knows that this man right here, Felipe Gallegos, was a hero. He saved lives in a situation in which four different police officers were shot.”
Officer Gallegos is accused of shooting homeowner Dennis Tuttle during a drug raid after he and four other officers used a no-knock warrant to enter Mr. Tuttle’s southeast Houston home. Gunfire ensued, leading to the deaths of Mr. Tuttle and his wife, Rhogena Nicholas.
Police investigators determined that the officer who led the raid had lied about buying drugs at Mr. Tuttle’s home, but Mr. Hardin said Officer Gallegos and others in his squad were unaware of that deception and acted appropriately when they came under gunfire. Mr. Hardin added that Officer Gallegos was doing what he thought he needed to do to save his life and the lives of his fellow officers.
According to Mr. Hardin, the grand jury declined Officer Gallegos’ request to testify.
“It’s been very challenging just because I haven’t been awarded the opportunity to tell my side of the story,” said Officer Gallegos during the news conference. “To be able to explain that I’m not the bad person that I’m being painted to be, it’s been challenging my entire family and my kids. There’s not a better way to explain it.”
Officer Gallegos is free on bond after Mr. Hardin requested that a Harris County judge reduce his bond from $150,000 to $50,000.
Officer Gallegos is represented by attorneys Rusty Hardin, John MacVane, Naomi Howard, and Rachel Lewis of Houston-based Rusty Hardin & Associates. The firm’s of counsel attorneys Letitia Quinones and Doug Murphy also will serve as key members of the trial team.
Watch the press conference in its entirety below.