Drug Policy

Johnston Timeline

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Federal investigators have released a timeline in the Kathryn Johnston case, and it's absolutely horrifying. We now learn that even the initial bust that produced the tip leading to the raid was due to planted evidence. Which means everything about this case was created and manufactured by these cops. The instinctual ease with which these three officers piled lie on top of lie, the fact that they very nearly got away with it, and the fact that none of the three had a single moment of moral clarity until their case began unraveling three weeks later—it's all chilling. Consider this passage:

Johnston got off one shot, the bullet missing her target and hitting a porch roof. The three narcotics officers answered with 39 bullets.

Five or six bullets hit the terrified woman. Authorities never figured out who fired the fatal bullet, the one that hit Johnston in the chest. Some pieces of the other bullets—friendly fire—hit Junnier and two other cops.

The officers handcuffed the mortally wounded woman and searched the house.

There was no Sam.

There were no drugs.

There were no cameras that the officers had claimed was the reason for the no-knock warrant.

Just Johnston, handcuffed and bleeding on her living room floor.

That is when the officers took it to another level. Three baggies of marijuana were retrieved from the trunk of the car and planted in Johnston's basement. The rest of the pot from the trunk was dropped down a sewage drain and disappeared.

The three began getting their stories straight.

While an innocent, elderly woman lay bleeding, handcuffed, and dying on the floor of her own home due to their malfeasance, these animals went about planting drugs to implicate her, and concocting a story to save their own hides. Every case these officers ever worked on needs to be reopened. And that's just getting started. A police department that could produce these three dirty cops, and allow them to operate, is a department that has almost certainly produced many more. It would be awfully coincidental if the only three bad drug cops at APD all happened to be working together this particular night, and happened to get caught on this particular raid.

Johnston's murder should also be a wake-up call for those who instinctively believe initial police accounts of what happened during one of these raids.  I suspect that if Kathryn Johnston had been a 22-year old innocent man instead of an 88 (or 92, depending on who's reporting)-year old innocent woman, we may still not know exactly what happened in that house.

NEXT: The People's Police

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  1. Are you sure you weren’t reading a plot summary from an upcoming episode of The Shield? Man, that’s some infuriating stuff.

  2. Cue apologists and trolls in 3…2…1…

  3. Sorry, I’ve got nothing.

  4. This just keeps getting worse . . .

    Sad part is:

    1) No significant change will come from it

    2) The 3 will be painted as “rogue” cops and not typical of drug enforcement. Thus excusing the need to actually start checking on the rest.

  5. Me either. The words “bastards” doesn’t begin to cover it.

  6. This behavior of these monsters is so outside of all laws of civilization.

    So much so, that I doubt it’s going to have much effect on the issue Radley originally linked it to, the militarization of local policing (SWAT teams and “dynamic entries.”)

    The problem here is some number of corrupt, thugish criminals wearing police uniforms. It’s tough to read about their behavior and think that the use of battering rams and a no-knock warrant were to blame for this atrocity. It sounds like these cops would be leaving a bloody trail even if they’d been walking beats with a truncheon and sidearm.

    Assholes. I hope everyone on their cellblock finds out what they used to do for a living.

  7. “I suspect that if Kathryn Johnston had been a 22-year old innocent man instead of an 88 (or 92, depending on who’s reporting)-year old innocent woman, we may still not know exactly what happened in that house.”

    Nobody would ever have thought to question the cops’ version of events if the victim had been a young black man. I forsee a brief period of buckpassing and handwringing, followed by a return to “no-one is innocent” business as usual.

    I wonder if this would be taken more seriously if the mayor and police chief were subject to prosecution for malfeasance or simple incompetence on the part of the people who report to them. More reasons to favor capital punishment for public officials.

  8. Mr. Balko, any chance you’ll reconsider your stance on felony murder?

  9. P Brooks,

    I thought I was the only one in favor of the death penalty for politicians! It’s strictly voluntary after all, nobody forces them to become politicians.

  10. This is one of those times that makes it hard to want to eliminate prison rape (https://www.reason.com/news/show/119234.html)

  11. How about simply disbanding the police entirely? Allow the newly fired cops to form their own security companies, and let them earn their pay for a change by competing for customers.

    I doubt they’d treat their paying customers this way without the monopoly privilege they have as policemen. It would also stop the drug war in its tracks.

  12. This is quite a tragedy. I hope that events like this and other recently publicized police brutality cases lead to some sort of reform in the way police departments are operated. It’s a shame that something like this is allowed to happen; it would be even more of a shame if nothing is done to prevent this in the future.

    My question is: Why doesn’t the mainstream media give this any in-depth coverage? I don’t think I’ve seen it on any newscast on any channel.

  13. “Mr. Balko, any chance you’ll reconsider your stance on felony murder?”

    No. But it does make me reconsider my position on whether these cops should be charged with out-and-out murder.

    That is, handcuffing this woman and allowing her to bleed to death while they figured out how to cover up their crimes.

    I’m opposed to felony murder because I think it’s dangerous to prosecute people for crimes that lack intent. Much as I’d love to see these cops go to prison for the rest of their lives, I’ve seen how prosecutors push the felony murder doctrine to ridiculous extremes.

    It’s just not worth it.

  14. This story is so appalling, and the strong implication that this is but the tip of the iceberg makes it even harder to deal with. I echo jimmydageek–where’s the major media coverage? My wife likes crime-news and didn’t hear about this story until I told her about it. What gives? I thought the media was supposed to be this great watchdog. Ha! I suppose we’d have heard something if Anna Nicole Smith had been shot by cops planting evidence.

    I grow tired of being in a constant state of indignantude 🙁

  15. ktc2-

    Exactly- these people actively seek positions of power, but if something goes wrong, they claim it was out of their control. I say if they want the job, they’d better be prepared to accept responsibility for bad outcomes as well as good. I don’t have the faintest idea who is mayor of Atlanta, but I would be willing to bet that person was calling for “law and order” during the campaign.

  16. “It would be awfully coincidental if the only three bad drug cops at APD all happened to be working together this particular night, and happened to get caught on this particular raid.”

    That says it all. Either these guys were incredibly unlucky in that the only three dirty cops who happened to do this for the first time had it go ary, or this is just SOP for the APD. I am betting on the latter. I think that this type of behavior is probably edemic in the department.

    How did it get endemic? It got that way in no small part because of the pressures on the police department and thus the cops to get arrests and convictions. The cops got ahead by getting as many convictions as possible. It was hard to get convictions lawfully, so it is not surprising that some or even most of them would start getting convictions unlawfully. People do respond to incentives. That doesn’t excuse what they did. I agree with Radly that hancuffing the woman and letting her blead to death is depraved indifference and is second degree murder, not manslaughter. But, if you want to stop this kind of thing, you need to at least consider what kind incentives we are creating for cops when we reward them for the quanity of their arrests rather than the quality.

  17. Flagrant abuses of power should be punished. Period. Cops and politicians get off way too lightly for egregious violations of ethics, law, morality, or for all of the above. If we don’t constrain extralegal exertions of power, then they’ll just keep happening. And will get worse.

    Incidentally, the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine isn’t enough. Obviously.

  18. Three baggies of marijuana were retrieved from the trunk of the car and planted in Johnston’s basement.

    The fact that they kept some “throw-down” drugs in their car for just these kinds of occasions tells you a lot, too.

  19. It sounds like these cops would be leaving a bloody trail even if they’d been walking beats with a truncheon and sidearm.

    If you remember from Mr. Balko’s blogging at the time, Officer Tesler hit a motorcyclist with his police car pretty good at one point. Lies ensued.

  20. So I guess the drug warriors stance on this will be that we’ve made the cops jobs “too hard” with all our “rights and due process” and FORCED these poor dedicated officers of the law to criminal acts to do their job. Followed by a bevy or new laws giving sweeping new powers to drug police “for the children” and “our own protection”.

  21. That’s a very thoughtful post, John.

    The yardstick for police work needs to be lower crime, better community relations, and safer neighborhoods, not arrests.

    There shouldn’t be departments who primarily relate to non-police officers as criminals and targets. Every cop needs to be a beat cop, at leas part-time, to break down the “us and them” mentality, and give the police a level of understanding of who’s who in the neighborhood.

  22. “Incidentally, the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine isn’t enough. Obviously.”

    It is a lousy doctrine. It punishes the wrong people. It punishes society by letting criminals go and lets the cops, who are the guilty ones off. Society will not tolerate letting the obviously guilty go free on technicalities. Judges are political creatures and know that. That is why over the last 40 years you have seen a general erosion in civil liberties. If the alternative is, let a criminal go or not envforce the doctrine, most judges will not enforce the doctrine. What they do instead is just invent exceptions to the rule until finally the exceptions swallow the rule. For example, read the auto search cases where you go in just a few short years from the cop having the ability to look in the car to see if the person had a weapon to a cop being able to go through the glove box with the person handcuffed and in the police car in the name of a “protective sweep” of the car for the cop’s safety.

    The answer is that the fruit of the poisonous tree rule should be abadoned. If you are a criminal and the cop violates your rights to get the evidence, too fucking bad, you are still a criminal and society has an interest and justice has an interest in you going to jail. The cop, since he violated your rights, is a criminal to and society has an interest in him being punished as well. What we should do instead of exclude the evidence, is admit the evidence but then make a separate finding on the legality of its seizure. If a cop is found to violate someone’s rights, he is immediately fired and put on a black list and never is allowed to be a cop again. If the violation is egregous and results in the prosecution of an innocent person or harm to someone, he goes to jail.

  23. I’m sure John doesn’t mean what I think he just said, so this is not pointed at him…

    I don’t think the police should have any incentive whatsoever for quantity or quality in arrests. Give them only the ultimate incentive: Do your job well or be fired.

    There really is, in all this, a fine example of why unions have no place in civil servant positions. And as bad as teacher unions are, at least they rarely* cover-up murder and false imprisonment. It should be the easiest process in the world to fire a police officer and it should be controlled by people not involved in the police command structure. The slightest hint of abuse or corruption that is corroborated in a transparent process results in an immediate firing and loss of all benefits. If it is a gross case such as this, fire them all the way up the line.

    Police wield too much power and we hold them to lower standards than the public. It is insane.

    *I refuse to think they never have.

  24. Cops should be judged on the quality of the job they knew not the number of people they arrest and it should always be easy to fire a cop. Police unions should be banned. Was there ever a problem with police being expoited and unfairly treated? If there was I have never heard about it. There is however a huge problem with being able to fire bad cops and the unions are primarily responsible for that.

  25. Just Johnston, handcuffed and bleeding on her living room floor.

    This is horrifying. If there was ever a case for the death penalty, here it is.

    If a cop is found to violate someone’s rights, he is immediately fired and put on a black list and never is allowed to be a cop again. If the violation is egregous and results in the prosecution of an innocent person or harm to someone, he goes to jail.

    John, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Every cop needs to be a beat cop, at leas part-time

    Joe, I think the worst thing that was ever done was to put the cops into cars where John Q has no contact with them outside of Dunkin’ Donuts or a traffic stop.

  26. I just sent a comment to ABC news asking why there isn’t more coverage of injustices such as this one. I think we should all start demanding more pressing coverage of items such as this instead of crap such as who Anna Nicole was fucking etc. Leave that crap for the tabloids. Send comments to ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN, etc…ask for more in-depth coverage of abuse of powers. Maybe it won’t make a difference…but it just might incline someone somewhere to actually do something about it.

  27. Three baggies of marijuana were retrieved from the trunk of the car and planted in Johnston’s basement.

    Had the US Secret Service do that to me once. Well, three joints not three baggies. Still scary stuff because in those days it wasn’t a $50.00 ticket. If it wasn’t for a grizzled San Clemente police sergeant……

  28. Have the officers said why they chose her place? Everything in the warrant turned out to be fiction, but have they given any clue as to why they chose her house as there was no evidence (not even hearsay AFAIK) she was involved in drugs?

  29. Malcolm J.

    The “informant” that they threatened with arrest provided them with an address. I’m sure it was just the first one that popped up in his mind to avoid getting arrested.

  30. That says it all. Either these guys were incredibly unlucky in that the only three dirty cops who happened to do this for the first time had it go ary, or this is just SOP for the APD. I am betting on the latter. I think that this type of behavior is probably edemic in the department.

    John, If I remember correctly you thought the “few bad apples” execuse was reasonable when it was used to explain the Abu-Ghraib scandal. why not in this case? What gives?

  31. Shouldn’t these officers also be charged with drug possession? Why not tack on everything they can to send these guys away for many many years.

  32. Me@ 11:19

    So I guess the drug warriors stance on this will be that we’ve made the cops jobs “too hard” with all our “rights and due process” and FORCED these poor dedicated officers of the law to criminal acts to do their job. Followed by a bevy or new laws giving sweeping new powers to drug police “for the children” and “our own protection”.

    John@ 11:24

    The answer is that the fruit of the poisonous tree rule should be abadoned.

    ———

    Just call me The Prophet

  33. Just call me The Prophet

    Peace be upon you.

  34. As always, this brings us back to “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Before you jump in my shit…

    We (the People) must be able to defend ourselves from not only the Tyranny of a foreign government and the Tyranny of our own government, but from the thugs who act as agents of our own government.

    Kathryn tried, sadly, and failed. I’m sure she would have been dead either way, but I wonder how this would have played out differently if she had managed to kill one of her assassins?

    CB

  35. Uh, if she’s killed one of the police, Cracker’s Boy, we’d be seeing stories about the “Killer Crackhouse Granny” on MSNBC after 9 PM.

  36. So true, joe. Unfortunately.

  37. Agreed Joe. Just wondering if, because someone other than an old black woman died, wouldn’t the ensuing investgation been more thorough?

    I mean, ulitmately, bad cops would have not only gotten an old lady killed; they’d’a been responsible for getting a cop killed’ which tends to generate a lot more concerned citizens getting involved to “do something”.

    I dunno’… just idle speculation.

    CB

  38. joe,

    Maybe local governments need Der Censor as well. One with a big bat.

    “Um, yeah, looks like you planted evidence on granny. You’re nothing to me now. You’re not an officer, you’re not a friend. I don’t want to know you or what you do. I don’t want to see you at the precincts, I don’t want you near my house. When you pick up your last paycheck, I want to know a day in advance, so I won’t be there. You understand?”

  39. “I think the worst thing that was ever done was to put the cops into cars where John Q has no contact with them outside of Dunkin’ Donuts or a traffic stop.”

    The next worst thing is the conversion of the cops in even white-bread suburbs like mine into a paramilitary force. Jarhead haircuts and body armor abound. Nothing like taking your kids to breakfast at McDonalds on a Sunday morning and sitting next to two cops enjoying their McMuffins while wearing bulletproof vests and sap gloves.

  40. In somewhat related news (maybe not really, but I’m just happy to hear it), RATM reunited for a concert this weekend, with more appearances scheduled 🙂

  41. Aaaaaaand a few more police news in Atlanta:

    Police just acquired some heavy duty Pentagon surplus hardware, including some armored vehicles. Next time they’ll just blow away a wheelchair-bound grandma with a bazooka. (article)

    The Supreme Court decided in a Georgia case that cops are not responsible for injuries during high speed chases (article). Of course, given how poorly minorities are treated when pulled over, I’d run even if I were innocent (article).

  42. Cracker’s Boy,

    How dare you speak about Our Fallen Heroes like that?

    That man gave his life to save The Children from the Scourge of Drugs, and you want to smear his reputation?

    No, dude, “dead cop” does not equal “thorough and responsible inquiry.”

  43. Your world frightens and confuses me.

  44. *Sigh*

    I live in (the) Atlanta (metro area) and this has just, for lack of a better term, really bummed me out. On a different scale, but… sort of like how we all felt on September 12, 2001. Helpless and mad and scared and pissed off.

    I myself frequently suffer from Road Rage, and Air Rage and all of the other current “Rages”, but dammit… now I’ve got to contend with “This story makes me really mad Rage” too.

    CB

  45. I myself frequently suffer from Road Rage, and Air Rage and all of the other current “Rages”, but dammit… now I’ve got to contend with “This story makes me really mad Rage” too.

    Don’t forget about Rage [Against the Machine]!

  46. Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.

  47. By the name of Odin, I invoke and summon upon VM the presence of the Urkobold! Tremble and weep, mortal, for he comes for your soul!

  48. The whole RATM thing was a bit ironic for me today.

    I have over 2800 songs stored on my work laptop…and use the shuffle settings when listening. I haven’t “shuffled” across a RATM song in quite a while…and this morning I shuffled onto a live version of “Bomb Track”. And I thought, “Man, I wish they still put out new stuff.” Shortly thereafter I went to Yahoo’s homepage and saw the RATM reunites headline…

    trippy…

  49. “John, If I remember correctly you thought the “few bad apples” execuse was reasonable when it was used to explain the Abu-Ghraib scandal. why not in this case? What gives?”

    Because I actually have personal knowledge of what happened at Abu-Ghraib. I know the people who prosecuted and defended the case. I know that the government and his defense attornies tried every way in the world to get Grenier to rat out people above him in return for leaneancy. But that is just not what happened. It really was a bunch of looser prison guards on the night shift who were left without supervision. Sometimes the truth doesn’t fit the “its just a symptom narative”. Were Genier and company the only bad apples? No, they weren’t. But that doesn’t mean that they or anyone else was someohow acting on higher orders to abuse prisoners. That is just not what happened. What did happen is that people in charge did not exercise the proper oversight and leadership.

  50. Ah, I say, old boy, Gater bater, I am first in line for taking souls. Now help me light the cloak.

  51. I propose as punishment the officers be shackled in the necessary position in a pasture outside Enumclaw Washington with horse in estrus scent applied liberally around their rectum.

  52. *mere presence of THUNDERCHICKEN, arch nemesis to Urkobold, keeps the price of Arby’s value lunch specials artificially low….

  53. That and the use of the strange gray stuff in place of beef.

  54. John, I think your reasons for rejecting the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine are compelling but what happens if we assume that most people whose liberties are violated are actually guilty? Do you think the public would actually stand for punishing a cop based on a “technicality” (i.e. a civil liberty) for putting away a guilty person?

    I think both methods of protecting civil liberties (punishing cops and excluding evidence) confront the same problem: “freedom isn’t free.” In the former case we’ll see Op-eds about innocent cops being punished for just doing their jobs. In the later case we see op-eds about guilty criminals going free on a technicality.

    Personally I feel like excluding evidence is a better call because everybody will keep an eye on a criminal that got off on a “technicality” but a cop that was fired for “just doing his job” will be considered a hero and and might be given some other position of authority .

  55. Urkobold, SCOURGE OF ARBY’S, EATER OF DEEP-FRIED POOPIES, LOVER OF LONG DEAD CELTIC QUEENS, LEAVER OF MEETINGS, GLUER OF BROKEN THINGS, SMASHER OF DECORATIVE FIGURINES, WATCHER OF TELEVISED SPORTING EVENTS, WRITER OF LOXs, IS HERE.

    HOW MAY I BE OF SERVICE?

    aw, crap that chicken’s here.

    SOMEONE PLEASE DISTRACT THAT CHICKEN. IT IS MAY IT QUITE HARD TO CONCENTATE. MISPELINGS ARE RAMPART. TRAIN OF THOWT HAS LEAVED. LOOKY, SQUIRRLES FUKCING!

  56. These cops are guilty of some variation of homicide and need to go to jail for a long time. The Atlanta PD also needs to be investigated. It’s never good for real estate prices when the most violent and unpredictable street gang around is the police.

  57. I think the exclusionary rule is necessary, not as a deterrent to individual police actions but as one to systemic abuses. If a police chief or prosecutor knows that convictions won’t happen if they constantly violate the rules, then complying with the rules becomes at least a partial concern. Obviously, things have gotten out of whack in recent years, for a variety of “War on. . .” reasons.

    Urkobold,

    Please shriven the soul of VM.

  58. “In somewhat related news (maybe not really, but I’m just happy to hear it), RATM reunited for a concert this weekend, with more appearances scheduled :)”

    Well, that answers this question.

  59. Urkobold,

    Um, better make that unshriven.

  60. “… what happens if we assume that most people whose liberties are violated are actually guilty?”

    Business as usual.

  61. bohwahahahahahaha!

    I have no soul! Dat is vhy I schpeak Joyman. ja ja. Doitsch. bowahahahahaha!

    bohahahahahaha!
    hier

    hab nix g’sagt

  62. ABC Audience Relations [audiencerelations@abctv.com]
    to me

    12:47 pm (1 hour ago)
    Thank you for writing to the ABC TV Network headquarters.

    Your request and/or comments should be made to your LOCAL STATION directly. You can find information on how to contact your local ABC affiliate:

    Go to ABC.com
    Go to the TOP of the page and click on “Local Station”
    Follow the instructions to get the website, address and phone number for your local ABC station.

    That’s the response I get for asking why there isn’t more National (as opposed to local) coverage of this tragedy.

    My response to them:

    Why should my request be made to a local TV news station? This is an issue that should be tackled on a national basis, not locally. Or, is Anna Nicole more newsworthy than corrupt police officers in Atlanta? Is this what “journalism” has degraded to?

    My question wasn’t answered: Why is there not more pressing coverage (Nationally, ie: 20/20, Nightline, Primetime, etc) regarding this blatant abuse of powers by the Atlanta Police Department?

    Media outlets should be expressing outrage over this incident. Or is that reserved for Imus-like incidents only?

  63. “John, I think your reasons for rejecting the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine are compelling but what happens if we assume that most people whose liberties are violated are actually guilty? Do you think the public would actually stand for punishing a cop based on a “technicality” (i.e. a civil liberty) for putting away a guilty person?”

    I don’t know. But I think they might be willing to swollow that before they would be willing to swollow setting a guilty person free. Further, if you just had a system in place and punished the first few cops, the others would be detered and you wouldn’t have to be firing cops all the time. Maybe people would go into revolt, but if they did then basically people don’t care about civil liberties and we are screwed anyway.

    “I think the exclusionary rule is necessary, not as a deterrent to individual police actions but as one to systemic abuses. If a police chief or prosecutor knows that convictions won’t happen if they constantly violate the rules, then complying with the rules becomes at least a partial concern. Obviously, things have gotten out of whack in recent years, for a variety of “War on. . .” reasons.”

    The exculsionary rule in the long term hasn’t deterred anyone. What has happened is that judges have slowly carved out so many exceptions to the rule against unlawful search and seizure that we really have lost many of our rights. The reason they have done this is that the alternative was to let guilty people loose. Further, the police officer at the scene is not thinking about getting a conviction that will stand up on appeal. He is thinking about making an arrest and clearing the case off his desk. If he breaks the law, he can just lie and court and say the guy consented. If the judge doesn’t beleive him the remedy is the evidence gets thrown out. Big deal. That will be months from now and in the mean time this dirt bag goes to jail to await trial. Yeah, they get it mostly right and ussually don’t go way in the ditch but ultimately most cops are not concerned with the details because the excusionary rule doesn’t hurt them much. As far as the top people engaging in the systematic denial of rights, what is to stop them from doing that now? Further, I don’t think you could be police chief for very long if your strategy was for all of your subordinates to each catch one criminal and then be black listed for life. If you really came down on the individual cops responsible, it would be impossible for the higher ups to get anyone to violate people’s rights.

  64. “I think the exclusionary rule is necessary, not as a deterrent to individual police actions but as one to systemic abuses. If a police chief or prosecutor knows that convictions won’t happen if they constantly violate the rules, then complying with the rules becomes at least a partial concern.”

    Why should they care? It’s not like they get paid on a commission or bounty basis.

  65. This is as monstrous a betrayal of the public trust as I can possibly imagine. They murdered that woman and then conspired to hide it after the fact.

    I seriously think this case deserves the death penalty. Life in prison seems too lenient for scum like this. And it would send a clear message to all crooked cops everywhere that this kind of behavior will be met with the most severe punishment imaginable.

  66. If you don’t exclude the illegal evidence, then the defense has no incentive to inquire after or pursue bad warrants and searches.

    All told, I think the exclusionary rule is an essential incentive, albeit not sufficient by itself.

    Plus, its just wrong for the state to profit by its violation of a person’s rights, and a person to suffer because their rights have been violated.

  67. Five quatloos on the chicken!

  68. Robert,

    Can’t run on a “tough on crime” platform if you ain’t convicting people.

    Look, I’m not saying that I like the exclusionary rule or that it stops stuff like this from happening–it doesn’t–but I do think adhering to Constitutional limits is more than a “mere technicality”. The rules aren’t that hard to comply with, after all. Not planting drugs on people has got to be pretty easy, for starters.

  69. Why should they care? It’s not like they get paid on a commission or bounty basis.

    Career advancement, recognition by peers, and sweet sweet confiscations are all very real incentives for the cops to fudge drug cases.

  70. “If you don’t exclude the illegal evidence, then the defense has no incentive to inquire after or pursue bad warrants and searches.”

    Oh yes you do. To get the cops that did it. If you got arrested, you wouldn’t want to finger the cops who did it? Of course you would. Further, there would be an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collection of evidence.

    “Plus, its just wrong for the state to profit by its violation of a person’s rights, and a person to suffer because their rights have been violated.”

    You are suffereing because you are a criminal. Who is the vicim here? Not you. The victim is society at large for having cops who didn’t follow the rules. That issue is between society and the cops not you. You still go to jail.

    “Plus, its just wrong for the state to profit by its violation of a person’s rights, and a person to suffer because their rights have been violated.”

    The state doesn’t profit from you going to jail. You are a criminal and justice and safety demand that you be removed from society. There nothing profitable for the state in doing its duty as a sovereign by removing criminals like you from society. We tend to forget that because we have so many BS laws and send so many people to jail that don’t belong there. But under a just system of laws where people were sent to jail only for the appropriate crimes, not BS crimes like regulatory violations or drugs but real crimes like theft and violence, there is no profit in sending someone to jail, only necessity.

  71. Oh shit. The 4 o’clock news just reported that Mayor Franklin has announced that she plans to put 2,000 more police on the streets of Atlanta before her term is over.

    CB

  72. Cracker’s Boy,

    Would that be old-lady shooting, drug-planting police or the other kind?

  73. Reading the full time line has made me feel ill. The way they were able to just pull all the elements together that they needed to raid her house, which was picked out a hat by an actual drug dealer…

    A real bunch of go-getters, those guys.

  74. “We (the People) must be able to defend ourselves from not only the Tyranny of a foreign government and the Tyranny of our own government, but from the thugs who act as agents of our own government.

    “Kathryn tried, sadly, and failed. I’m sure she would have been dead either way, but I wonder how this would have played out differently if she had managed to kill one of her assassins?”

    Quite the contrary–she succeeded admirably. Hers may not have been “the shot heard ’round the world,” but it’s still echoing in Atlanta.

    Now, if we could just get some justice for Isaac Singletary and all the others…

  75. jimmydageek,

    You are so right about complaining to the national media about their non-coverage of this case. Seriously, the Imus *conflagration* was nothing compared to this — and presumably, the people so up in arms about Imus and his racist comment (and the alleged harm it did to young women with what appear to be great lives ahead of them) would at the very least be, you know, outraged by this case. But no one discusses it.

    I was talking about this case with a friend of mine this weekend, and wondering why it’s not getting coverage, and she offered that it’s because she was a poor black woman. It seems like the obvious reason and I might buy it if it weren’t for cases like Sal Culosi’s or Derek Hale (the Iraq vet who was shot and killed while incapacitated from being tasered three times). Could it be that the national, mainstream media just doesn’t want to get to deeply into exposing the police state tactics that are being used against American citizens because it doesn’t want those tactics being turned against it? Yeah, it’s better to stick to safe scandals like rude, racist commentary by some old dingleberry radio host than to get involved in exposing how the war on drugs has devolved into a war on the citizenry.

  76. This horrific news is important. It’s important because it happened in Atlanta at least once and probably many times. It’s important because it appears to happen at least sometimes in many places.

    This isn’t about identity politics; this is about right and wrong and our freedoms. I know that on slow news days that Imus and Paris Hilton stories will lead, but not every day is a slow news day. Like Virginia Tech, this has got to be talked about over and over again.

  77. Oh yes you do. To get the cops that did it.

    WIthout the exclusionary rule, this will do nothing to prevent the introduction of the evidence and the outcome of your case. A lawyer would be a fool to pursue an angle that can’t help his client at trial.

    You are suffereing because you are a criminal. Who is the vicim here? Not you.

    Actually, the person who just had his rights violated is a victim. And should not be twice victimized by having illegally obtained evidence used to put him in jail.

    The state doesn’t profit from you going to jail.

    Maybe not, but it wins its case in court, and the DA and the cops get whatever career bump there is from that.

    You are a criminal and justice and safety demand that you be removed from society.

    Only if my rights as a citizen are not violated. By this formula, no one accused of a crime should have any rights, because jailing a criminal trumps all other considerations.

  78. “Only if my rights as a citizen are not violated. By this formula, no one accused of a crime should have any rights, because jailing a criminal trumps all other considerations”

    No RC. you have rights, those rights just don’t include getting out of going to jail for your crimes. Nothing says you can’t sue the cops for violating your rights. The exclusionary rule is not in the Constitution. Nothing in the Constitution says “the government shall not and if they do you get a get out of jail free card”. That is not what it says. We have just chosen to use the exlusionary rule as a way to enforce and gaurentee rights. There is nothing that says we couldn’t choose a different way, like punishing cops who violate people’s rights, rather than the exlusionary rule to try to ensure the government respects people’s rights.

  79. “… what happens if we assume that most people whose liberties are violated are actually guilty?”

    I had my civil liberties violated dozens of times by the PO-LEECE when I was a feral yoot. Nothing major, no arrests, just got hassled a lot and got written up for a lot of fix-it tickets. I was never guilty of anything–except that time the horn relay didn’t work.

    allright, since you and your buddies aren’t holding dope, drinking beer, can pass a sobriety test, and all the tail lights and brake lights work, let’s hear the horn.

  80. Why is the FBI investigatin this? Haven’t they heard of states rights? They shouldn’t be meddlin in local affairs. Kathryn Johnston? Hrmph. Too bad they waited to shoot that old nappy headed ho after she already had chitlins!

    My cowboy hat is hurting my head again. Too bad that bastard Rush made it hard for radio jocks to get oxy. Wonder if my pedophile buddy down at the cop shop can get me some smack out of the evidence locker? He owes me a favor after I let him molest kids on the cancer ranch

  81. ‘There were no cameras that the officers had claimed was the reason for the no-knock warrant. ‘

    Wait, what? I missed this part of the narrative the first time ’round. Were the police (ostensibly) making the raid for cameras? Were the cameras stolen, or were they worried about her filming something? What do cameras have to do with marijuana sales?

  82. “its just wrong for the state to profit by its violation of a person’s rights”

    How does the state profit by convicting anybody? Wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper for the state if there were never any convictions?

  83. “Career advancement, recognition by peers, and sweet sweet confiscations are all very real incentives for the cops to fudge drug cases.”

    The confiscations don’t require convictions. I don’t see how their peers will recognize them any better if their convictions are phony; I mean, anyone can run up a score by cheating, and I’m sure their peers know that. And career advancement how? Doesn’t that usually just come from “keeping your nose clean” and not making waves? You might get medals for valorous service, but how much can you hock a medal for?

    Nah, I think there’s sadism at work here. These people must get jollies out of hurting people. They picked out an old lady to shoot that night, not knowing she had a gun. They’d’ve gone next door had they known that.

  84. Excerpt:

    For the state, another inevitable adverse consequence of the Drug War is corruption (Sisk 1982). Not that corruption is necessarily a bad thing for the state. Up to a point, police shakedowns of drug dealers, bookies, pimps and other extralegal entrepreneurs benefit the state in more than one way. The more the cops collect in payoffs and confiscations, the less they have to be paid in salaries. Cops whose supervisors know they are on the take (as they do, since they are on the take too) (Chambliss 1988) look the other way unless and until for some reason they need to get rid of a particular cop. Corruption is thus a management tool.

    But some cops get too greedy and go too far. Most are “grass-eaters” (bribe-takers) who take what comes their way, but some are “meat-eaters” (extortionists) — proactively corrupt — who actively seek out or set up corruption opportunities, like the Special Investigative Unit detectives depicted in the movie Serpico (Daley 1978; Knapp Commission 1973). The grass-eaters cover for the meat-eaters (the “blue code of silence”) since they all have something to hide. Until recently, police administrators and their academic allies thought that they could keep corruption under control through various institutional reforms most of which were initially proposed by the Knapp Commission (Sherman 1978). Maybe the reforms would have worked, except for one thing: the War on Drugs. Corruption is making a comeback, even in the Knapp-reformed NYPD (Dombrink 1988). Because penalties are much harsher and the profits of drug trafficking much higher, the protection the police sell commands a much higher price (Sisk 1982). Drug-driven corruption is the growth sector of police misconduct (Carter 1990).

    For the state, the problem with runaway corruption is that it cannot be confined to where its benefits exceed its costs. The state needs the police for a modicum of selective law enforcement and, much more important, for social control — as the occasion calls for, to break strikes, evict squatters, suppress riots, repress dissidents and keep traffic moving. Even in our sophisticated times, when manipulation is the hippest of control strategies, there is often no substitute for the gun and the billy-club.

    But a pervasively corrupt police force cannot be counted on when push comes to shove. Meat-eaters cannot spare the time to enforce the law. Officers on the nod are ineffective knights of the club. Police who are enforcing drug laws are unavailable to enforce others. There’s been a tremendous expansion in undercover police work in recent years (Marx 1988), inevitably accompanied by more corruption (Girodo 1991). Police, as workers, are notoriously difficult to manage because they are usually out by themselves, unsupervised. Detectives especially are in a position to be secretive about their activities (Skolnick 1975; Daley 1978), and more drug enforcement means more detective/undercover work. These cops are pursuing their own agendas. Why do dogs lick their balls? Because they can.

    THE WAR ON DRUGS AS THE HEALTH OF THE STATE by Bob Black

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