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The aftermath of 92-year-old Kathyrn Johnston's death

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Robert Hairless, Nov 23, 2007.

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  1. Robert Hairless

    Robert Hairless Member

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    On April 21, 2006, Kathyrn Johnston was killed in Atlanta, Georgia. Johnston was either 92-years-old or 88-years-old.

    Johnston was killed during a "no-knock warrant" raid by three police officers who swore that a confidential informant told them that she was selling drugs from her home. Immediately after they shot her the three officers swore that Johnston had pulled a gun on them wounding one officer and that they had no choice but to shoot in defense of their lives. They fired at her 39 times and handcuffed her as she was dying. Officers displayed a quantity of marijuana that they said was in Johnston's home.

    Subequent events revealed that either there was no confidential informant and the officers lied to the judge to secure the warrant or that the confidential informant lied to them, that the police planted the marijuana, and that Kathyrn Johnston was fearful of intruders and was killed while trying to defend her life against them.

    On April 26, 2007 one of the police officers--Gregg Junnier--pleaded guilty in state court to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation and making false statements. A second police officer--Jason Smith--also pleaded guilty

    On November 27, 2006, newspapers reported that the FBI and Georgia state authorities were investigating the case. Atlanta's police chief Richard Pennington placed eight narcotics officers involved in the "no-knock" raid on paid leave. Chief Pennington professed to be puzzled by conflicting versions of the incident, promised to cooperate with the investigators, and "said his department was reviewing its use of 'no-knock' raids after the shootout. The warrants are common in narcotics cases when officers fear suspects may try to dispose of drugs or evidence in the time it takes authorities to gain access to the home.

    Yesterday, November 21, 2007, Kathryn Johnston's family filed civil suit against the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Police Department, the police officers involved, and their supervisors. "The suit charges the corrupt practices of the Police Department led to violations of the U.S. Constitution and state law."

    Let us not forget to give thanks for the many honest, diligent, and scrupulous law enforcement officers who do indeed serve and protect their fellow citizens: us.


     
  2. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Member

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    This is just a sad situation, and there is nothing I can say about the officers and administration of the APD that caused this event to happen that would be High Road. I hope that this event will at least help bring about the end of No-knock warrents. At the risk of being accused of LEO bashing I will just say that both the Officers involved and the Dept/City owe the family of this poor lady a ton or money. And I would personally like to see it come directly out of the pockets of both those officers and their administration. Perhaps then it would be a deterrent to other less than honest individuals. But in all likelyhood it will just be more tax payer money poured down the drain and then events such as this will continue to happen:fire:
     
  3. hamourkiller

    hamourkiller Member

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    This is what I expect from police now. When it is different I am pleasantly surprised instead of sorely dissapointed.

    The lawless behavior in New Orleans was the final straw for me since that was a broad base of copper imports from other states, and they all kicked doors down and confiscated guns quite happily.

    To me, the Atlanta situation is disgusting but representative of, not unique in, the state of American policing today.
     
  4. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Seems an odd time to commend law enforcement officers, when a court case has just been filed regarding them murdering a 92 yo woman.

    I would really appreciate them NOT serving and protecting me the way did this old lady.
     
  5. GlowinPontiac

    GlowinPontiac Member

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    No Knock warrants need to end.

    anyone who kicks in somebody's door yelling police should expect armed resistance on the other side. who knows if its really the police or just some guys pretending to be cops so they can rob and possibly kill you and your family.
     
  6. Robert Hairless

    Robert Hairless Member

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    I'm sorry you think that way. Perhaps you don't realize that the court case you mention was not filed against all law enforcement officers in the United States, only against those specific officers who are accused of negative involvement in the woman's death.

    I suppose it's possible to argue that there should not be any law enforcement officers in this country, but it's not a proposition I'd care to entertain. I also wouldn't argue that if those officers committed crimes all officers should be punished. It's a kind of argument similar to that made by anti-gun people: if someone commits a crime with a gun, all people who own guns are criminals or potential criminals, so no one should be allowed to own a gun. That's not a kind of argument that makes sense to me.

    I'll say again this day after Thanksgiving what I said yesterday on Thanksgiving day: "Let us not forget to give thanks for the many honest, diligent, and scrupulous law enforcement officers who do indeed serve and protect their fellow citizens: us." What I did in that statement was make a distinction. If you think I've suggested that we give thanks to law enforcement officers who betray our trust and their oaths, you have misread what I wrote.

    Although I don't like bad cops, I very much like good cops. I understand the reasons offered for "no-knock" warrants. I despise them.
     
  7. jpk1md

    jpk1md Member

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    I very much appreciate the hard work of all of the GOOD LEO's out there but there is no amount of money that can restore this womans life and make it right for the family.

    The LEO's that committed this crime need to swing from a rope in a public place for their crimes against Society and the people they swore to serve/protect.

    No if ands or buts about it.

    Until there is a zero tolerance policy in effect for this kind of behavior it will continue as will the ever increasing distrust of Law Enforcement by the Public.
     
  8. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

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    Unfortunately this incident is not an isolated tragedy but a harbinger of how things have changed in our society. Are there fine upstanding law enforcement officers who try their best to obey the law? Of course. Are there nefarious ill begotten neer do wells hiding behind badges and masquerading as honest citizens? You betcha. Like any area of life law enforcement is a reflection of society.

    The problem is that modern society has abdicated the throne of self reliance, many feel that all of the problems that occur between people must be dealt with "by the authorities". This leads to an ever increasing scope of authority for law enforcement, ever increasing laws on the books everywhere and less and less freedom for people. When we grant ever increasing power to police in the vain search for security we create a powerful beast. A beast that at first serves us but eventually grows
    self centered and self important to the point abuse.

    Law enforcement and those who have entered that field have now reached the same level of narcisstic
    self worth that politics has. Many now feel that they know what is best for society and they will decide what must be done to insure "safety" for society. If a few eggs get broken in the process.....oh well you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. In recent events evidence shows that now just breaking an egg occasionally is not enough. It has now become acceptable for LEO to lie, cheat, steal and even commit murder in the name of
    enforcing the law. The law enforcement community infesting the city of Chicago is a prime example of this breed.

    And you know who is to blame? We are...all of us. For allowing self serving power hungry politicians to bloat this country to obesity with useless laws and our own fear of risk that drives many to relinquish freedom for the illusion of safety. A "safety" that is at best a hollow promise from government and at worse a death sentence.

    The only solution is to fire LEO at a wholesale level, purge our statehouses and courts of self serving politicos bent on personal empowerment and take responsibility back to a level where individuals have a say in how there town and county is run. If....and I mean if, we accomplish this than we can turn our attention to the national level and the entrenched corruption and anti freedom civil servants that are the millstone around the neck of America.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2007
  9. Risasi

    Risasi Member

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    Robert, I hate to say it, but this looks like it is destined to be thread lock material. And it really should not be. I'm glad you posted this, I had not heard about the incident.

    ----

    TCB,

    I think you overreact. These kinds of incidents are not that common. It's just that we have so many people in the world now obviously the odds that such events will occur are multiplied. And the means in which we communicate is so quick and pervasive one cannot help but hear about everything. And so it gives us a false perception of our world. I come from seven generations of law enforcement officers. I am under no pretenses that there were far less infractions of citizen rights in our past, I'm sure this includes the involvement of some of my ancestors.


    Katrina and all that, fine...I know, I've heard it too. Heck, I've said some of it. But the truth is the vast majority of the time these events do not occur on a regular basis. Yes, it is fine to remember events like this, like Katrina, like the battle of Athens. But I still say you overreact. People get driven to this emotional zeal that frankly is disgusting, and there is just no need for it. It serves no purpose. I've been guilty of doing it too.


    I hope they throw the book at these despicable wretched fellows, frankly I believe it should be their lives for her life. They made that whole police force look bad, but punishing them or the city isn't going to help.
    At least in this case it sounds like the Atlanta police chief doesn't want to sweep it under the rug. That is a very good thing, and shows courage. Certainly a sad case all around.


    Perhaps it is an incident like this, of which Jefferson spoke when he said the tree of liberty needs to be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants?
    Obviously there will be repercussions.

    Certainly these thugs were tyrants. And most definitely Mrs Johnston was a patriot, unfortunately it was not by her own choice. Never forget, but don't drive yourself (or others) to a frenzy just for the satisfaction of turning this into another "us vs them" thread just so you can feel that you accomplished something.

    ---

    xrayboy,

    If you truly want to "take back America" might I suggest you start by getting/keeping yourself out of debt. Choosing to live a self reliant life. Including removing your children from the public schools. Heck, go on strike. Reduce your pay to the point where you don't have to pay taxes. That'll show 'em. Now get a sizable number of the population to do likewise. While I agree with your idealogy, the reality is it just won't happen. Not in this lifetime.
    Such ideas are a better fit for another forum. Might I suggest APS, or perhaps mentalmilitia?


    That's it, I'm done here for awhile. I find the same hyperbole still floating around here, and it's not very HR, IMO...
     
  10. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

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    Risasi...

    That is the defeatist mentality that those in power wish us to display. They
    want everyone to believe that "nothing can be done, the system is too entrenched therefore it is pointless to try". This is the legal forum. In this forum we discuss the law and its ramifications related to freedom including the freedom of arms. The solution to less freedom is very simple. Less government.

    In America power comes from one of three boxes, the jury box, the ballot box or the cartridge box. If we fail to use the first two then we are forced to use the third one. Failing to use any of these will result in loss of freedom.
     
  11. Zedicus

    Zedicus Member

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    To true..

    I personally don't paint all Police with the same brush as the whole is not responsible for the actions of a few bad apples, however they do bear a responsibility to eject said bad apples on discovery, far to many react by trying to sweep it under a rug, doing that only makes matters worse and makes the rest of the police look bad.
     
  12. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Member

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    Perhaps I am overreacting, but in truth, I kind of don't think so. Because while they are not that common they are pretty common. This thread is just a couple of examples, there are plenty of more local ones, most not as bad but still bad enough. The mere fact that anytime something like this does happen the Thin Blue Line appears and then quite often the end result is nothing like justice for those who were wronged so. If you come from seven generations of law enforcement officers then I am sure that many people owe your family a debt for the sacrifices that your family has made. I am greatful that there are those willing to try to serve and protect, and I say that sincerely. But for those who break that trust, well I have no words to relay the contemp that those individuals deserve.

    I hope that you are correct, but it certainly looks like it is happening more and more frequently. And the examples of the actions are more and more heinous. To be honest, what I personally think is disgusting is that some individuals are so unconcerned about actions as these as to ignore them and try to rationalize them away. The purpose for this "emotional zeal" is to make sure that the frequency of these acts reverses the trend.


    I guess you are just confusing me now, do you want or not want to have them punished? Your comments are a little off, but I guess you and I WILL just have to agree to disagree, because punishing the city will serve more than just one purpose. It will make life harder for those individuals who are in charge, remind them that they are still being held accountable by the citizens that they are charged with protecting. As for the APD Chief, well his actions picked up steam after the righteous indignation of many of those in the community. Were it to have happened earlier then my opinion of him would have been much greater.


    Perhaps it is, but without that emotional zeal then nothing will ever happen. And again if you cannot see that most of the us vs them in this thread is coming from the LEO side, what I and many others want from the LE community is help in ridding our society of scum like these, or maybe at least a condemnation of those individuals who either performed this act, covered for them, or now defends them. I know many good LEO's and both admire and respect them, it is the other kind that I have no patience for.
     
  13. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    Depends upon where you live.

    In my town, it doesn't happen at all.

    On the other hand, try reading the Chicago papers for a few months.

    The problem here is that all too often, cops who do these kinds of things get breaks that nobody else would. The Felony Murder Rule should have been applied to all three of the degenerates in question and if convicted, all should be strapped to a gurney for the last time. Being allowed to continue their worthless lives is the greatest gift of all, a gift none of them deserves.

    In the town where I live, we don't have police home invasion rings or faked up warrants and murders of old women. That's because we don't tolerate that kind of thing. Where those things DO happen, the perpetrators stick their fingers in the wind and decide that those things will be tolerated. And sometimes they're right...
     
  14. dasmi

    dasmi Member

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  15. EmGeeGeorge

    EmGeeGeorge Member

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    Well, since all "no-knock" warrants should be made illegal as they can be used improperly, so should guns as they too can be used unproperly, right?

    A group of bad cops can misuse their authority... a gun owner can misuse his constituionally protected right so...

    No knocks have thier place... maybe there should be a limit on how they are used, but to say blanketly that they have no place...

    Ifyou disagree with that, "I BEG TO DIFFER" www.VPC.ORG
     
  16. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    And if "no-knock" warrants can have their place, why not confessions extracted using torture?

    If you don't allow the police to EVER torture a confession out of you by using electric shocks, beatings, asphyxiation or sitting you on a hot radiator, isn't that the same as NEVER allowing "no-knock" warrants?

    Surely, someone can be convicted and sentenced to death based on confessions obtained via the PROPER use of physical torture, CAN'T they...?
     
  17. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Member

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    These sorts of incidents aren't the problem.

    They are one symptom of the problem.

    The problem is part of our society declaring war on other parts and one side using the government to attack the other. In this particular case (and MOST cases) the justification was the war on drugs. "Mistakes happen in war." Yeah. Sorry auntie. What's behind the war on drugs? The war on drugs started out as a war on blacks and Asians. Some of the first drug laws in the country were in California and were designed to attack "coolies". In the 1950s and 1960s the laws were expanded to target blacks as well.

    Want them to stop? Next time someone says the war on drugs is a good idea laugh at them and explain that the current drug war was as response to the civil rights movement, intended to criminalize common behaviors within the black population as a way to strip them of recently-won civil rights.

    Drug laws and gun control work together... not just cause and effect. Yeah, prohibition brought us NFA'34, but after the civil rights victories of the late '50s/early 60s made it difficult to officially oppress based on skin color, they needed a new way of dividing the population. Criminalize behaviors perceived as common to the "undesirable" group and use criminal convictions to strip civil rights for life. The one-two punch of first hitting blacks with felony convictions for smoking "reefer" and through that stripping them of their right to own a gun so they can safely be oppressed and lynched.

    That's the problem. This case is just one symptom of the problem. Dealing with no-knock raids will just push law enforcement to seek other tools. Instead we must address the roots of the problem.

    Personally, I think racism is basically dead as a personal motivation for most people in the USA. Not dead entirely, but not mainstream either. Yet we still have the remnants of ideas that were wrong, and battles that were being fought, 50 years ago as the basis for laws that are doing harm today. We need to get rid of those laws. To end the war on drugs. If we don't the situation will only get worse.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2007
  18. george29

    george29 Member

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    Long ago I did a stint with a Narc squad, after a very short time, I was told I wouldn't fit in, and when I asked for a more specific reason, one of the guys took me aside and told me I "had no clue how dirty the game gets, all the way up the chain" and to go back to uniform duty. He also said I didn't have a choice in the matter. I imagine he saved my life.

    As has been mentioned, there are good cops, I imagine most of those are visible in uniform, the ones that haven't been to taken in by all that Homeland Security crap and the Federal Way of doing things.

    Sadly, and also has been mentioned, all too many departments are ruled by the feds. Remember the commercial, Call a Friend, Call a Cop? Where'd that disappear too? It just wouldn't fit today.
     
  19. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Member

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    Serious apples to oranges situation.


    There is a big difference between the ability of a citizen to use its rights improperly and the Fed Gov systematically failing to follow the rules that are specifically given as a constitutional restriction on how they are to serve warrents.

    The one is a potential problem, but the Govs use of no knock warrents is (despite what some judges say), an obvious violation of the constitutional rights of citizens.


    Do I understand the reason that "MANY" no knock warrents are used? Sure, but in most cases the same results could be achieved w/o a no-knock warrent. If you are afraid that evidence will be destroyed then wait till the suspect exits and then detain them and then serve the warrent. Plenty of ways to get what you need w/o end running the constitution, and just like in this case, were the officers in question to have actually done a little recon on the location in question then perhaps Ms. Johnston would still be alive today.
     
  20. Clipper

    Clipper Member

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    You people can hide behind the 'isolated incidents' story...OK, let's say 1% of police are like these guys. That means that for every 100 cops you come in contact with in your life, one of them might be a dangerous, even murderous threat to you. Do you find those odds acceptable? Do you accept those odds on the street? If you do, why do you carry a SD weapon? Well, I don't like those odds, especially when that dangerous guy has the power to accuse me of something I didn't do, and get the backing of department brass, to justify jailing or killing me by mistake. Do I hate cops? No, but do I trust them? No, because simple prudence demands I be wary of them, incase that one dangerous one crosses my path on 'the' day, and I would be less than responsible to my family if I was not. All I know is that the buzz-cut, sunglass, strutting, high-speed, low-drag tactical ninja look doesn't give me the warm fuzzies, and I've always followed the rules and have nothing to feel guilty about! I would venture the opinion that many of the police officers I have come across struck me as guys who enjoyed having the authority to walk hard-heeled around the lowly 'civilians' and 'puttin' the fear into 'em, by God!'. There seem to be a lot of badge-heavy punks out there .
     
  21. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    Its things like this that make me afraid of LEOs. Where were their brother LEOs to stop them from doing this?
     
  22. Rich K

    Rich K Member

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    I am not LEO, but I do interact with a great number of them on my job as a Paramedic.99% of them are good guys, but then there is that 1% that think they are God's Gift and above the law. They use excessive force during arrests or abucse thier authority in some way. They are a very small minority in the olice world. I personally know of one guy who has pulled over ambulances containing patients, and this same clown tried to stop a rig running emergency status to a CPR in progress.
    Because of the one officer's bad behavior, does that make all cops bad guys? I think not. If you get a couple of bad apples, get rid of them before they infect the rest of the barrel. These clowns in Atlanta make their whole dept look bad. My .02.
     
  23. Zedicus

    Zedicus Member

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    +1
     
  24. Geno

    Geno Member

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    I have said before, and I repeat: If you are unhappy with your LEOs' service, fire them! We did! The county no-longer provides our city their nightshift protection. Well, frankly they never did...but now they also don't have a contract to do so. Go to your city council and say terminate the contract...now!!! If they don't, recall the council members, run for office and do it your own self. Life really is that simple.

    Doc2005
     
  25. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    My view on no-knock warrants is pretty simple.

    In general, the purpose of a "no-knock" warrant is to prevent the suspect from disposing of evidence during the time it would normally take LEOs to gain access to the premises.

    Forget everything that follows from this, forget the sensationalizing from both sides of the issue.

    The *greatest* benefit of a no-knock warrant, is that the prosecuting DA gets more solid evidence to work with at trial.

    The *greatest* detriment of a no-knock warrant, is that civilians at the same address, or worse, civilians at a WRONG address, face a split second decision to defend themselves, that has a lose / lose outcome.

    When you weigh the benefits against the risk, without marginalizing the worth of the lives of civilians, it is obvious that "no-knock" warrants present a risk / benefit ratio that is , or should be, unacceptable to both police and civilians.

    Police should be required to announce their presence, and provide the opportunity for surrender. If that makes their job tougher, that's tough ****, the world needs plumbers and electricians (myself) just as much.


    "Police officer" shouldn't be a job, it should be a religion.
     
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