War on Drugs

Kathryn Johnston Update 1


Another Atlanta resident says police broke down her door in what appears to be a mistaken raid, just days before the raid on Kathryn Johnston.  The raid also  included one of the same narcotics officers involved in the Johnston case.  Police found two marijuana cigarettes in the woman's home—clearly not enough to support a no-knock warrant—and made no arrests.

In past incidents involving high-profile botched raids in other cities, media, activists, and politicians sought out other victims of wrong-door raids to show that there were fundamental problems with the entire warrant-to-raid procedure—that the botched raid in the headlines wasn't a mere happenstance, isolate incident.

Here's hoping the same thing happens in Atlanta.  In a recent town hall meeting at a church just down the street from Johnston's house, several people claim to have been victims of similar mistaken raids.  Someone needs to follow up with them.  I'm sure some are opportunists.  But I'm also certain that some of them are telling the truth.

Note that in the raid linked above, Chief Pennington referred the reporter to the FBI.  The FBI replied that it is only interested in the Johnston case, and referred the reporter back to Chief Pennington.  If this is the treatment given to a news reporter even while a high-profile botched raid is all over the news, imagine how your average wrong-door raid victim might have been received prior to the Johnston incident when trying to file a report.

Yet more evidence that this happens far more often than we read about in the newspaper.  Unless someone dies, it just gets buried, or ignored.

Someone—perhaps the mayor—needs to show some initiative here.  If the mayor is sincere in her promises to hold a thorough and transparent investigation, she ought to want to know every single time this has happened.  If the problem is systemic, she can't go about fixing it until she knows just how bad it is.  Not to mention the fact that the people who've been wrongly terrorized due to bad policy and shortcuts in police procedures ought to be compensated.