Thursday, February 08, 2007

A chance that justice may be done.

For the first time in a long time I have a small feeling that justice just might be possible in some cases in America when cops go out of control.

I have posted several times on the police killing of Kathryn Johnson, here and here.

The basics are that drug cops in Atlanta attacked the Johnson home claiming that it was a center of drug trafficking. It was instead occupied by a terrified 92-year-old grandmother who suddenly found strange men breaking down her door. She pulled a gun and shot in self-defense. They killed her in return though she only managed to wound the attackers. Too bad!

Once it was determined that there was no drug sales going on there at all. The woman defended her home from what appeared to her to be armed attackers. The police lied in obtaining a warrant. They lied about what happened throughout. And Kathryn Johnson died because of those lies.

Now something very rare has happened. The typical response of the police and local officials to cover up police lies and allow these “legal” killers to escape justice. But prosecutors in Atlanta deserve applause.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that DA Paul Howard “will seek criminal charges, including felony murder, against three Atlanta narcotics officers involved in a botched drug raid”. Please note that it is not the botched part that makes them criminals per se it is the fact that they lied to the get the warrant and acted illegally. The officers are charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, burglary and making false statements and violation of oath. Hallelujah! They deserve it.

The indictment names Gregg Junnier, Jason R. Smith and Arthur Tesler specifically. All three were involved in the murder of Kathryn Johnson. And it was murder. Read the previous posts for clarity on what happened.

The indictment notes that the officers claimed an informant purchased drugs at the home earlier on the day of the raid. It also notes that was a lie and that no such thing had taken place. DA Howard says he “will not rest until every person responsible for [Johnson’s] death is held accountable...”

That has police worried. Legal experts say that “if the warrant to enter Johnston’s home was based on deceit, all actions that occurred after police broke down the door could be considered criminal.” Now that is troubling to drug cops in particular who routinely lie.

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