Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Police defense falling apart.

A few days ago I reported on the police attack on the home of an elderly, feeble woman, Kathryn Johnston. The home, complete with a wheel chair ramp was attacked by drug cops who claimed that an “anonymous” informant had purchased crack there from a man earlier in the day. Johnston lived alone. She was terrified of criminals and had burglar bars on the windows and refused to come out of the house most of the time. Only close relatives were ever allowed in. Johnston kept a handgun to protect herself and from what we know she knew how to use it.

The officers with a “no-knock” warrant started battering down the door to the Johnston home. The terrified woman used her handgun in self-defence. But in America one is not allowed to defend one’s self from criminals in uniform. Johnston fired six shots and hit all three officers only missing with one shot. They lived but she didn’t. Police shot her to death. Of course they gave the same claims they always give. They claimed they had the right address. They claimed there were drugs in the house. They claimed they announced themselves first. And anyone one believes the cops --- well, they also tend to think there is a Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny delivers chocolate eggs.

Now all eight members of the drug thugs squad have been suspended. The “informant” has said that immediately after the execution of Johnston he was called by the police and told to lie for them. The George Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have now been called in.

Apparently people are finally getting upset over this incident! Good for that. But they need to understand this is just one out of hundreds such cases. And the cause is the war on drugs itself. The cause is the culture of deceit within the police forces. The cause is the immense power given to cops allowing them to easily kill others. The cause is that many cops, not all by any means, are thugs themselves.

The informant came forward to a reporter saying he was very disturbed by the death of this old woman. He says the cops called him very quickly. “They were going to pay me just to cover it up. They called me immediately after the shooting to ask me, I mean to tell me, ‘This is what you need to do.’ “ The New York Times reported he said “that the officers told him explicitly that he was needed to protect their story.” He is also claiming that he never visited the home and never purchased drugs there. And he told investigators the same thing.

The warrant the police obtained also contained lies. They told the court falsely that the “drug dealer inside had several surveillance cameras and monitored them closely.”

Now I don’t think the cops believed this themselves. I think they knew they were lying to the court in order to obtain the “no knock” warrant. Remember that after they had killed this old woman they announced that it was clear they were police. They said police vehicles, marked openly as such, were parked in front of the house. They said uniformed cops were standing outside with them. They said they had the word “police” on their bullet proof vests.

But now we learn their warrant said that the so-far mythical “drug dealers” had “surveillance cameras” on the house and monitored them closely. If that were the case then why the police vehicles, why the uniformed officers, why the vests saying police in big letters? In addition they said they were outside for several minutes before smashing in the door to the home. In other words they all acted as if there were no surveillance cameras on the property at all.

I have read the police affidavit asking for the “no knock warrant” and it is troubling. The cops say they “directed a confidential and reliable informant to 933 Neal St. NW, Atlanta, GA, 30318, to enter the home and purchase from the resident cocaine.” It doesn’t say the informant came to them but that they told him what to do. Why did they send him to this home? That is not explained in the affidavit. The affidavit is written as if they witnessed the informant approaching the house and entering. they say he immediately returned with cocaine. The informant says this was not the case. The affidavit was signed by Investigator Jason R. Smith.

Was the affidavit a lie as well! This seems to be a pattern of lies by the police. It appears they lied to the court to secure the warrant and then lied after the incident to cover up their own actions. The informant says he never went to this home and never purchased drugs there. He said that the police told him to claim he purchased drugs from a man named “Sam”. He said the cops told him: “This is what you need to do. You need to cover our ass... It’s all on you man... You need to tell them about this Sam dude.”

Originally the police claimed the drugs were purchased by an undercover cop but later changed the story saying it was the confidential informant. There is nothing in the affidavit to indicate the police did any investigation at all. There is no evidence they kept the house under surveillance to see if drugs were being sold. Nor can they explain how the large, 260 pound, young, black man named Sam turned out to be a feeble, elderly woman named Kathryn.

Originally the police claimed that “narcotics” were found in the home. But no narcotics were found. Now the story is that a small amount of marijuana was found. Sorry, folks I don’t necessarily believe that either. It is the easiest thing in the world for dishonest cops, and the indications to me are that these cops are clearly dishonest, to carry a tiny amount of marijuana with them on any raid as insurance. If they break in and find a cocaine shopping mall the pot stays in their pockets. If the find nothing out it comes to prove they had some “reason” to attack the house.

This tragedy happens constantly. Now the answer is to legalize drugs. But that won’t happen anytime soon. The police insist they are honest and trust worthy and that they absolutely follow the law, etc.

So perhaps we need a new law! (Shocking, I admit, in this over-legislated age.) Here is the law I would propose. In an police raid where a civilian is killed by the police there can be no legal immunity for police officers if it is shown that the officers lied at any point during the situation. If they lied in their claims to the judge to secure the warrant then immunity is forfeited. If they lied after the incident, during the investigation, they lose their immunity. And the penalty they receive ought to be exactly the same as that given out to normal citizens. So if the cops kill an innocent person, and lie to investigators about the circumstances they can be put on trial just like you and I would. And if they are found guilty of lying in a case the lose of immunity means they can be tried the same way you and I would be and punished the same way you and I would be.

While I don’t support the death penalty if the cops live in a state with the penalty, and they murder a civilian then they ought to receive the death penalty the same as you and I would. I suspect if the law applied to them the way it does to others they might be a little less willing to kill old women. And note that I am calling for this when the police have falsified the evidence. As long as they are honest they would still have immunity. But when they are dishonest they don't deserve the protection of the law.

PS: Note that the object next to Johnston's leg is her cane to help her walk. No doubt some eagle-eyed cop could see it as a shotgun.