Militarization of Police

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Arthur Tesler is the only officer involved in the Atlanta drug raid that killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston to fight the charges against him. The testimony to so far come out of his trial really only confirms what we knew about the narcotics division at Atlanta PD from the federal investigation into Johnston's death, but it's still pretty striking stuff:

A former Atlanta police officer testified Thursday that narcotics officers routinely lied under oath when seeking search warrants, a practice that led to police killing a 92-year-old woman.

Former Detective Gregg Junnier told a Fulton County jury that detectives would tell judges that they had verified their informants had bought cocaine from dealers by searching them for drugs before the buy took place.

"I have never seen anyone searched before they go into the house, I've never seen that done, even though officers always swear to it," Junnier said. "It's done that way in 90 percent of the warrants that are written."

But it wasn't just lies to get the warrant to search Kathryn Johnston's home that made Junnier uneasy, he said. He had an inkling something was wrong when he and Officer Jason R. Smith were leading the narcotics team to the front door. He said the northwest Atlanta house differed from the informant's description.

"I said, 'Man, this doesn't look right,' and he said, 'I know,' " Junnier testified. " 'I said what do you want to do.' He said, 'Hit it.'"

A minute later, Johnston was lying on her floor, dying.

[…]

He said the chance to seize a kilo (2.2 pounds) of cocaine also drove the officers, who normally made arrests for much smaller amounts.

In the raid, police fired 39 shots. Junnier was shot in the face, chest and leg. Two other officers were also wounded. Investigators determined Johnston had fired one round from a revolver; the officers were shot in their own crossfire.

Junnier described entering Johnston's house: "She was still alive. She was gasping for air. I heard … the order to cuff her."

Later that day, he said, the cover-up began.

It would be pretty näive to think these kinds of shortcuts only happen in Atlanta. Prior reason coverage of the Johnston case here.

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  1. In the raid, police fired 39 shots. Junnier was shot in the face, chest and leg. Two other officers were also wounded. Investigators determined Johnston had fired one round from a revolver; the officers were shot in their own crossfire.

    Thirty-nine fucking shots because of a 92-year-old lady with a gun defending herself, and they shoot each other.

    It is both terrifying and relieving at the same time that the cops are so incompetent with the weapons that they feel are one of their special privileges. On the one hand, it’s pretty ridiculous that most CCW holders are more competent with a handgun than the cops. On the other hand, it means that they are less likely to be efficient killers when they go off and empty several magazines.

    Still, they were effective enough to kill Johnston and Diallo.

  2. And this whole thing will be forgotten by most people in a matter of hours. Heck, I bet it doesn’t even make it to CNN.

  3. Imagining a bunch of cops, standing around unloading their magazines into this poor woman, reminds me of the scene in Idiocracy where they blow up Frito’s car.

    They idiots can’t help but shoot and laugh and cheer for violence. It would be funny if it weren’t so descriptive of the real world. And scary.

    This may seem callous, but I hope New York City riots over those cops getting off. I hope they tear down city hall, the police respond with cruelty like any post-9/11 authority would, and the revolution finally comes.

    I can’t take this oppression anymore…

  4. This may seem callous, but I hope New York City riots over those cops getting off. I hope they tear down city hall, the police respond with cruelty like any post-9/11 authority would, and the revolution finally comes.

    Indeed. Things are pretty bad when I find myself having thoughts like “I am SO GLAD Al Sharpton’s here to make a fuss over this.”

    Seriously. Somebody has to.

  5. No one seems to realize that the reason things like this make the national news is because it is so rare.

    Sure, it’s a tragady but for you Libs to condemn all of law enforcement over an incident like this is disgusting.

    As to TakTixs comment about opression, I doubt if he has a freaking clue about oppression.

    Most of you sound like morons.

  6. At the risk – nay, certainty – of indulging in bad taste… this story invariably reminds me of Ma Baker.

  7. If people don’t go apeshit over Bell being killed, unarmed, at his bachelor party the night before his wedding for no reason, they’re not going to. And Sharpton won’t call for violence since Yankel Rosenbaum.

  8. Jennifer, come to think of it, I was happy when I heard Sharpton was there because I knew that he’d raise a fuss. Heard later that he was amongst those arrested so I guess he did.

    Anything that makes you happy to be on Sharpton’s side truly has be be a harbringer of the apocolypse.

  9. JohnD,

    If its so rare, why is Balko running multiple incident stories per week?

  10. “I have never seen anyone searched before they go into the house, I’ve never seen that done, even though officers always swear to it,” Junnier said. “It’s done that way in 90 percent of the warrants that are written.”

    Yeah, 90% is really rare isnt it. The fact that most of the time nobody dies doesnt change the fact that the cops are REGULARLY violating the law.

  11. Anything that makes you happy to be on Sharpton’s side truly has be be a harbringer of the apocolypse.

    Hear hear!

  12. JohnD:

    the rare part is that the cops got caught

    check this out, then come back and tell us how rare these events are

  13. Cops should be required to have an IQ of 130 or greater.

    That will solve many of these problems.

  14. *We* sound like morons?

    Heal thyself. Educate thyself. Then come back and try again.

    Otherwise, be gone to LGF, troll.

  15. JohnD: ignorance and apathy must be nice….until it happens to you

  16. I got $20 on JohnD being a cop himself. What say you, JohnD, care to fess up, you fascist prick?

    Even if this was the only incident, which it isn’t, one time is too many times.

  17. You say they screw things up and kill people several times a week, but they run thousands of these raids every day, nationwide. They’re error rate is less than 0.1%.

    You’ve gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.

  18. (calls in anonymous drug tip on JohnD to the cops)

  19. Cops should be required to have an IQ of 130 or greater.

    Bwa ha ha! In Connecticut, cops aren’t allowed to have IQs higher than around 110 or so. No joke. I suspect other police forces throughout the country have similar policies. Google “New London” and “Robert Jordan” for details.

    Remember, if you’re ever pulled over by a cop in Connecticut: the man glaring at you is not very intelligent, but nonetheless has power of life and death over your sorry ass.

    Explains a lot about John D, doesn’t it?

  20. JohnD’s Neighbor, your kid looks like a nice fresh egg, and the state is in need of a new omelet.

  21. These kinds of raids are important because they send a message to young people that we, as citizens, do not tolerate drug abuse as a community and that there are repercussions for your decision to use drugs.

  22. It was essential that the Sean Bell case be tried before a judge, rather than before a jury. A jury might have risen up and lynched the “prosecutor.”

    Or at least thrown rotten fruit at him from the jury box.

  23. JohnD’s neighbor:

    since most of the no-knock and knock-and-announce raids are unnecessary, let’s stop “making omelets” and “breaking eggs”.

    just end the fucking War on some Drugs, already

  24. Maybe it’s good that cops are required to be stupid. Imagine if these Atlanta cops had been smart enough to effectively cover up their crimes!

  25. Imagine if these Atlanta cops had been smart enough to effectively cover up their crimes!

    Or even not form the firing squad in a circle.

  26. I’m sure there are smart cops. They’re the ones not getting caught. Think Vic Mackey, and then shudder.

  27. Yes, these “raids gone bad” are only a small percentage of the SWAT style raids. However, the fact remains that in most of these raids, the objective could be accomplished simply by having a cop or two go knocking on the door in polite, civilized fashion, or by arresting the suspect away from home.

    Even when the raid goes according to plan, you regularly have innocent people (e.g. family members) terrorized and left with a broken door at minimum. Sometimes that may be necessary, but most of the time it’s not.

    SWAT raids are appropriate if you’re dealing with hostage situations, known violent criminals or some such. Nobody is disputing that. The problem is that these raids are regularly used in circumstances where the SWAT approach is simply not appropriate at all.

    I’m very thankful that Radley keeps pushing this issue. If it weren’t for him, I’d still shrug off these incidents as “isolated” too.

  28. I’m just thinking about Ms. Johnston’s relatives who will soon be collecting a tidy sum of money from Atlanta’s taxpayers.

    Very tidy.

    Oh, and speaking of cops who shouldn’t be trusted with guns… and payouts coming.

  29. JohnD,

    Thanks, (straw)man! You keep setting us up and we’ll keep knocking them out of the park.

  30. Indeed. Things are pretty bad when I find myself having thoughts like “I am SO GLAD Al Sharpton’s here to make a fuss over this.”

    Seriously. Somebody has to.

    Do you find agreeing with, and rooting for, Al “Race Baiter” Sharpton as surreal as I do?

    Back on topic – REMEMBER KATHRYN HOHNSTON!!! I will not let this story die. I will remind people of her murder every chance I get.

  31. A former Atlanta police officer testified Thursday that narcotics officers routinely lied under oath when seeking search warrants, a practice that led to police killing a 92-year-old woman.

    I just did a search for both “Kathryn Johnston” and “Arthur Tesler” on the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press websites. Not a goddam word about it. Granted the daily rags here in Motown suck equine penis, but this ain’t Iowa City. Two major dailies and this story is not imprtant enough to report on.

    Is it in your local paper?

  32. Is it in your local paper?

    Katherine Johnson (which is what my search offered me as a backup) hit a double in Lanesville’s softball win over New Washington.

    So, Im going with a no on that.

    Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. A fine, fine paper since Gannett bought it out. 🙂

  33. Being someone who used to live in the police state that is GA, it is out of control down there. It is of no surprise to me or anyone I know from there or who stills lives there that this crap has happened. Expect more of this crap long brfore it will get any better, hell that was the reason I got the hell out of there ASAP.

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