Thursday, April 26, 2007

Only Ones Making Deals

In a sane society this would be front page news- and yet ACE is the only blog covering the story that I've seen today. The rest of the MSM seem to think that an instance of police officers lying to obtain warrants and then killing an innocent person isn't newsworthy.

Grand jury results regarding the three officers who killed a 92-year-old Atlanta woman while serving a warrant will be released today.

Two will plead guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to violate a person's civil rights ending in a death and state charges that include voluntary manslaughter. The third is claiming he was the junior man on the narcotics team and the victim of other officers' bad habits.

He was only following orders and evidently his police training was not sufficient for him to realise that he was breaking the law. I guess if a young criminal was caught after shooting someone he could always argue that he was a "victim" of his elders who led him astray.

Here are some more details on the story-

The three offices were among a team of eight narcotics officers who raided the woman's home Nov. 21 hoping to get a cache of cocaine. They are accused of lying to get a warrant to get into Johnston's home.

Not just a warrant but a no-knock warrant to raid the house- and the elderly woman inside fired to defend herself before being gunned down. If a group of men suddenly burst into your home would you wait to see if they really were police before trying to defend your family? Is it really enough to hear someone shout "police" or do you suppose that a group of home invaders could do just that?

Here's where the Only One's privileged status comes into play-

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard proposed an indictment that included charges of felony murder, burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and making false statements in the Nov. 21 raid at the home of Kathryn Johnston.

But Smith and Junnier moved before that presentment to procure deals, said people close to the investigation.

And I'm sure that regular citizens would have those exact same options laid out for them. Not quite clear where the burglary charges would have come into play- have I missed some relevant detail?

Under the deal, the officers will cooperate with federal authorities who are investigating "systemic corruption" in the way narcotics officers obtained and filled out applications for warrants.

In short, this behaviour does not appear to isolated. How many other police officers have made stuff up in order to obtain warrants?

Smith wrote the affidavit to get a no-knock search warrant at Johnston's home. Shortly before the raid, Smith told a magistrate that he and Tesler had a confidential informant buy $50 worth of crack at 933 Neal St. from a man named Sam.

But according to a proposed indictment, no informant ever went to Johnston's house.

And new guy Tesler, who simply didn't know any better, went along with this. I guess ignorance of the law only helps you out in court if you're in law enforcement.

Finally, a little related snippet of information- Atlanta police chief Richard Pennington has some changes in mind, he "announced a wave of policy changes that require the department to drug-test its nearly 1,800 officers and mandate that top supervisors must sign off on narcotics operations and no-knock warrants." Pennington is also the man who asked the FBI to lead an investigation into the shooting. Credit where it's due.

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