Recently, Kathryn Johnson, a 92 year old African-American woman in Atlanta was Murdered by the local police during a "No-Knock" warrant raid. The officers admitted they lied and submitted false information to the judge to get the warrant and then planted marijuana in the home after entering. Kathryn had her house stormed at night by some unidentified figures in the dark. She fired one time. The police fired 39 times. The officers plead guilty to manslaughter charges. Manslaughter is supposed to mean that one did something dangerous and accidently killed someone from their negligence. Does anyone believe they fired at Kathryn Johnston 39 times and did not mean to kill her? Was that supposed to be a warning shot? 39 times? They entered the home with a warrant that was bogus, bringing with them drugs to plant at the scene. Was that an accident? What were supposedly respectable officers doing with drugs to plant at the scene and entering with a warrant they lied to obtain? These were dirty cops and they murdered an innocent victim. They should, in my opionion be responsible for at least a second degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, false arrest, etc. If nothing else, good cops should be offended by these guys. They deserve to be held up to the same scrutiny and indictment that you and I are responsible to the court and society for. I think they should be given even more punishment for being a dirty cop.
This is what happens when our constitutional rights are ignored to meet with political pressure for the police to arrest "somebody". NO ONE should be able to get around the constitution under the guise of "needing more leverage". The police should use their own techniques of finding evidence without the use of unreliable sources who they know are notorious drug users, mental incompetents, and any other type person who could be lying. Where does it say in the constitution that felons can be impeached as a witness unless they are testifying for the police? I will tell you a story that happened in my home town of Phoenix, AZ when no knock warrants were the new rage and they were in use frequently.
In the mid seventies a couple of friends of mine lived in one side of a duplex apartment in a low-rent part of town. They were supposedly under surveillance by the local police for dealing drugs. The truth is that these two young men were actually marijuana smokers who bought a small quantity and sold a few bags to a small circle of friends and weren't the drug lords that their warrant described.
The other small problem fact about the warrant that was served was that these two guys moved themselves, one spouse, one child, a dog, and all of their furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment, bed clothes, and bathroom supplies out of the apartment in the middle of the night while supposedly under surveillance. After all, they did pose this giant threat to society, so they were such high level drug dealers that they deserved the obvious close scrutiny that they received. That is why they police didn't even notice them move out and an older couple rent the apartment, move all their things in, become settled in, and continue to come in and out of the duplex apartment daily for a week. The only mistake the older couple made was that they didn't remove a) the aluminum foil from the front windows and b) the circus poster that covered the window opening in the front door when they moved in.
You can guess what happened next. Two police officers busted in on the elderly couple in the middle of the night. The older couple was lying in bed when the officers awakened them, standing in their doorway with loaded guns pointed at them. The old man reached for his glasses in the night stand and was shot repeatedly by both officers, assuming that he was a drug dealer reaching for a gun. The elderly woman rolled out of bed, into the closet, grabbed her husband's deer rifle, rolled back out into the bedroom floor in the dark, and opened fire herself. She only fired twice. One shot per each man, right through the heart. She got up, turned the light on, and called the police reporting that, "I think I killed two of your men." No knock warrants received so much negative media attention and public disfavor that they weren't used again in Phoenix by local police, just to suprise someone, for a long time. When it comes to warrants, the information has to be so credible with so much irrefutable proof that their won't be mistakes like this again.
Anyone who believes that allowing the police to use any new method, device, weapon, etc. without proper training or immense public oversight is recommendable should think about these things before virtually "authorizing Barney to use more than his one bullet".
The Associated Press story follows:
"Cops Admit To Planting Marijuana on 92 Year Old Woman Killed in Botched Drug Raid
Harry R. WeberAssociated PressMonday, April 30, 2007
ATLANTA — Two police officers pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter in the shooting death of a 92-year-old woman during a botched drug raid last fall. A third officer still faces charges.
Officer J.R. Smith told a state judge Thursday that he regretted what had happened.
"I'm sorry," the 35-year-old said, his voice barely audible. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation, making false statements and perjury, which was based on claims in a warrant.
Former Officer Gregg Junnier, 40, who retired from the Atlanta police in January, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation and making false statements. Both men are expected to face more than 10 years in prison.
In a hearing later in federal court, both pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to violate a person's civil rights, resulting in death. Their state and federal sentences would run concurrently.
The charges followed a Nov. 21 "no-knock" drug raid on the home of Kathryn Johnston, 92. An informant had described buying drugs from a dealer there, police said. When the officers burst in without warning, Johnston fired at them, and they fired back, killing her."
I wish to repeat that this happpened to a 92 year old woman. This is the type of thing that can actually happen to anyone for no reason. This is the reason that there are constitutional rights. To those of you who think the "system" is too hard on the police, it is because some of the police act like this. There are good and bad in all people, but these are the people we pay to keep us safe. Whe you put this much power in the hands of human beings they can sometimes be all too human. The reason why people scream to take the power away from the police is this: We have to wonder how many times has this happened and the police got away with it and covered it up?