The Houston Police Department will end its use of controversial no-knock warrants in most situations, Chief Art Acevedo said during a contentious town hall meeting three weeks after a deadly drug raid that left two people dead and five officers injured, the Houston Chronicle reports. “The no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city,” Acevedo told a crowd of activists, reformers and concerned community members. After the event, organized by the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice. Acevedo said any situation where a no-knock raid would be required would have to receive a special exemption from his office. “I’m 99.9 percent sure we won’t be using them,” he said. “If for some reason there would be a specific case, that would come from my office.”
Given the wounded officers and the two slain civilians, the chief said he didn’t “see the value” in the controversial raids. The news came during the meeting late Monday after more than an hour of questions from a furious crowd that repeatedly pressed Acevedo on the conduct of his undercover officers, the use of no-knocks and inflammatory comments from Houston police union President Joe Gamaldi, who seemed to suggest the department was surveilling law enforcement critics. Despite pushback earlier in the day from a defense lawyer representing the agent at the center of the botched bust, Acevedo doubled down on his previous statements about the likelihood of charges against the police involved. “I’m very confident we’re going to have criminal charges on one or more of the officers,” he said.