The Latest from Atlanta


Two new details came out last night in the Johnston case, both reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

·  First, we learn that one of the officers connected to the investigation leading to the Johnston raid was accused of fabricating the details of an accident he had with a motorcyclist while on duty.  Officer Arthur Tesler was apparently speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road when the accident took place.  He claims he was in pursuit of a suspect, though neither his lights nor his flashers were on at the time of the accident.   He also failed to report the pursuit on his radio.  The city settled with the injured motorcyclist for $450,000.  The traffic violations against the motorists Tesler and another officers filed shortly after the incident were dropped, and Tesler was given a written reprimand by the police department.  The question here is why an officer who by all appearances lied to cover his butt after a near-fatal traffic incident was not only allowed to keep his job, but was subsequently allowed to conduct narcotics investigations.

·  In the same article, we also learn the identity of the informant, and are informed of his extensive rap sheet.  This is curious, given that just days ago the same man was described in the search warrant as "reliable," and we were told how important it is to keep an informant's identity secret, for his own safety.  Of course at the time, the informant was an asset to the police.  Now he's a liability.  Then, they were tight-lipped.  Now we get the guy's full biography.  Guess his safety isn't all that important anymore, either.

It's important to keep in mind, though, that as this guy's reputation gets trashed over the next few days, not only was he one week ago described in the warrant as "reliable," his word was so golden that Atlanta police were willing to conduct a high-risk, forced-entry raid on a home based solely on his assurance that a drug dealer was living inside, with no corroborating investigation.  This despite the presence of a wheelchair ramp outside the home.  If he's such a shady character, why did they put so much trust in him last week?

Sullying his name now may help police with the much more explosive perjury, obstruction, and corruption allegations, but it makes their actions in conducting the raid look a heck of a lot worse.

Related, slightly more verbose thoughts here.