Shooting Draws Questions from Lawmakers 

Shooting Draws Questions from Lawmakers 
Posted by CN Staff on May 03, 2007 at 06:09:42 PT
By Ben Evans, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Washington, DC -- A botched drug raid that ended the life of a 92-year-old woman in a hail of police gunfire is drawing questions from House members about the use of informants.Police burst into Kathryn Johnston's Atlanta home last fall using a no-knock warrant they obtained by lying to a judge about drug activity there, according to prosecutors.
Afterward, when they realized their mistake, the officers tried to cover their tracks, and one has admitted planting drugs in the house and coaxing a street-level informant to go along with their story, according to court papers.A host of influential black House members said the case highlights widespread misuse of police informants, and they pledged to address the issue in Congress."I see the shooting and killing of Ms. Johnston as one piece of a larger puzzle," said Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. "We must utilize every means at our disposal ... to ensure that this kind of injustice never, ever happens again."Lewis joined House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., and other lawmakers in a meeting Wednesday with the Rev. Markel Hutchins. The Atlanta civil rights activist has acted as a spokesman for Johnston's family.Hutchins also met with attorneys with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and with staffers for several senators. The meetings came as attorneys for Johnston's niece have filed a wrongful death claim with the city of Atlanta as a precursor to a lawsuit."We believe what happened with Ms. Johnston is just the tip of the iceberg and is more symptomatic than coincidental," Hutchins said in an interview. "We've got to deal with the culture of police departments in this country ... every young black person in America knows there's a problem with policing."According to the plea agreements for two of the officers involved, police working on a tip from a suspected drug dealer falsely claimed that a secret police informant - Alex White - had witnessed a drug deal at Johnston's home so that they could get a no-knock warrant.In the Nov. 21 raid, plainclothes narcotics officers burst into Johnston's house unannounced. Johnston fired one errant shot at the intruders, hitting no one, and the officers responded with 39 shots, five or six of which struck her.After searching the home and finding no drugs, the officers tried to cover up the mistake, prosecutors said. One officer handcuffed the dying woman and planted three bags of marijuana in the basement of her house. He then called White and told him to pretend he had bought crack cocaine at the house, court papers say.White, who traveled to Washington with Hutchins to meet with lawmakers, said in an interview that he never would have known that his name was used to obtain the warrant had the raid not turned fatal.Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia called the Johnston shooting a "terrible situation" but said it doesn't necessarily reflect on the practices of all officers."If you're asking me for a broad indictment of the Atlanta Police Department, I'm not going to give a broad indictment," Isakson said. "But when something like this happens it should cause us to review and make sure it's not systematic."Two officers involved in the raid have pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath and other charges and are awaiting sentencing. A third officer still faces charges.Associated Press Writer Harry R. Weber contributed to this report from Atlanta.Complete Title: Shooting Draws Questions from Lawmakers from MichiganSource: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Ben Evans, Associated PressPublished:  May 3, 2007Copyright: 2007 Associated Press Related Articles: 3 Officers Indicted Drug Raid Shooting Spills Over in Atlanta at Killing of Woman Police To Review 'No-Knock' Policy 
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Comment #11 posted by John Tyler on May 03, 2007 at 20:34:17 PT
pretty common practice
Unfortunately this is a pretty common occurrence in some communities. Cops bust down the wrong door. Hold everyone at gunpoint, “rough’em up” and ransack the place. Then leave with out even a “pardon us our mistake”. If they feel the need they can plant their own evidence there if none is found. It only makes the headlines when someone gets murdered. I hope the politicians will realize what a police monster they have created and do something to change it. I doubt it though. The only way to really stop this is to end cannabis prohibition.
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Comment #10 posted by whig on May 03, 2007 at 14:17:24 PT
We need to shine a light on all of this, and let people see who has been honorable and who has not. For some people are simply deceived, or afraid to speak the truth, but those who make knowing deceptions should be shown as the liars they are.
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Comment #9 posted by whig on May 03, 2007 at 14:14:39 PT
I think many people experience cognitive dissonance, they do not trust the police due to the obvious corruption, but they do not trust the gangs or anyone else to protect them from the police, so they defer to the police and fear to speak ill of them.
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Comment #8 posted by observer on May 03, 2007 at 12:33:36 PT
For they bear not the sword in vain
Police, Afterward, when they realized their mistake, the officers tried to cover their tracks, and one has admitted planting drugs in the house... "We believe what happened with Ms. Johnston is just the tip of the iceberg and is more symptomatic than coincidental"This is how our harsh and irrational pot laws should scare the bejaysus out of even the most pure of the puritans who (of course!) would never dream of touching cannabis, who would rather die a slow and painful cancer death than touch the illicit weed. They get it right between the eyes, anyway. Taking the easy way out, many people think that to support "the authorities" and vote for ever-harsher punishments for cannabis users is the same as Righteousness itself. After all, they have heard Dobson or Falwell or Robertson demonizing (literally) those who use cannabis, and every (corporate/government) message tells them that Jesus hates those who use cannabis. So folks like this, they "know" what marijuana is all about: it is of the devil. And those who don't agree with them (that unrepentant cannabis users should suffer the harshest of all punishments), they are "Legalizers" and deserve the same fate.These are those who believe that every police officer is, the minister of God to thee for good. So when these ministers of God to thee for good, come unto thee also, yea even if thou art a 92-year-old woman, ministering unto thee with a hail of police gunfire and verily killing thee, fear not. You must have had "drugs" in your basement too. And if not, the goodly ministers of God to thee for good shall be planting drugs in the house and suborning testimony, these ministers of God to thee for good. Hey: they had quotas to fill. So what if a 92-year old innocent lady is gunned down in cold blood and then framed for some trivial amount of pot. These ministers of God to thee for good, why they are merely ministering unto thee! (For they bear not the sword in vain: surely Kathryn Johnston was up to no good.) US GA: Atlanta Police Chief Denies Charges Of Arrest QuotasURL: 
Cartoon: Too bad no liquor was found!
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 03, 2007 at 10:28:17 PT
PBS: Snitch
This was a good program and this case reminded about it.
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Comment #6 posted by museman on May 03, 2007 at 10:18:27 PT
Does anyone ever question who they are, and what kind of character these many 'informants' exhibit?DO you know that every single one of these 'informants' (except for the normal afeared elders who call the police at any percieved indiscretion) are recruited from the ranks of repeat offenders? Not 'repeat 'marijuana' offenders' but thieves, armed robbers, and thugs after a cops' own heart.There are some real slimy charcters whose word and testimony -not in a court, but on the street- condemns just as many innocents as guilty. This poor old woman is just one incident of many that have never been reported, and are not being reported.Our system is just plain rotten folks. Our leaders are rotten. Their dogs of enforcement are rotten. The corporate infrastructure of society is rotten. The predominant 'religion' is rotten. The 'social services' are nothing more than a closely monitored data base of potential revolutionaries -not because they are potentially violent, but just because they are poor. And a cop can take your money, and pay a street thug thousands of dollars -actually provide comfortable lifestyles - for information that half of the time is heresay created just to get the money.Time to clean house I'd say, and leave no corners unpurged.
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Comment #5 posted by Had Enough on May 03, 2007 at 09:59:52 PT
#4 What gives here?
That’s what I was looking at too. Mankind had better wake up quick, before it is too late, if it isn’t already.I was infuriated when I read this article. The very source and fix of the problem is right in front of everybody’s eyes, but they choose to treat the symptoms instead, as a diversion. They say we will get to the bottom of this to show the public, using the willing news media that they are right on top of things and doing their job. It's SHOWTIME!!! A few will be the sacrifice, justice done, case closed, back to business as usual. And they will also tell us to send in more tax money so they can deliver more of the same to protect us.More paydays for them I guess.I wonder how some of these people sleep at night.Thanks Kozmo, excellent rant… the truth.
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Comment #4 posted by Kozmo on May 03, 2007 at 09:20:22 PT
You have got to be kidding !
The police execute a no-knock raid on a house under false pretenses and kill a completely innocent woman then try to plant evidence to cover their crimes and our Representatives are concerned about "the use of informants". WTF !!!! Unbelievable! This entire ordeal from start to finish has absolutely nothing to do with "the use of informants" and is 100% the result of prohibition. Wake the f# k up you idiots.Sorry. I just had to rant.
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on May 03, 2007 at 08:35:18 PT
Repeat the mistakes...........
..........of Prohibition.
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 03, 2007 at 07:04:13 PT
Police Brutality Act Needed
Time to start reigning in law enforcement with firings and jail time. Abuse of law is not law. It's good that Atlanta is being sued for this abuse. Tax payers, get ready to take it in the rear again for your incompetent drug war.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 03, 2007 at 06:37:15 PT
Drug Informant Meets With Feds
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