Drug Policy

Update on the Georgia Pastor Killed by Undercover Narcotics Police

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Last month, I posted about Johnathan Ayers, a pastor in Georgia who was killed by police who confronted him in the parking lot of a convenience store. Police said the target of their investigation was a prostitute who had been in Ayers car shortly before the confrontation. They say they shot Ayers because he struck an officer with his car. The officers who confronted Ayers were in plain clothes, and emerged from a black, unmarked SUV.

Now the woman, who was later arrested on drug charges, is talking. Kayla Barrett, a 26-year-old admitted drug addict, says Ayers had no involvement in drug activity, had tried for several years to help her get her life straightened out, and was helping her get home and pay her rent on the day of his death. She says she isn't a prostitute, has never been charged with that crime, and is refuting insinuation on some comment threads to news stories that Ayers was having an affair with her. Barrett says she'd had a miscarriage 11 days before Ayers was killed, and was "not capable" of sex.

Here's her account of the day Ayers died:

Barrett said Ayers saw her walking from the Exxon station across from the Shell station (where he eventually was shot) back toward Relax Inn, where she and her fiancé were staying.

Since she had experienced a miscarriage 11 days prior and she visibly was having difficulty walking, Barrett said Ayers offered her a ride back to the motel.

"I was in his car for probably about five to seven minutes— and it was probably 20-30 minutes before he got shot," Barrett said.

"When I got in the car, I was telling him about my recent miscarriage," she said.

Barrett said she was paying $30 per day to stay at Relax Inn and, on Sept. 1, was three days behind. Her fiancé, who was staying there with her, had hurt his back and was unable to work, she said.

She said they had been doing "odd jobs" and "yard work" to make money.

Barrett said she asked Ayers if he could help her out with the back rent, and that he gave "all the money he had on him"— $23.

"His last words to me were I didn't owe him anything," Barrett said. "Probably 15-20 minutes after that I could hear the shots."

Giving Barrett the last of his cash would explain why Ayers stopped off at the Exxon ATM in the moments before his death.

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  1. I got tailgated by a cop on the way to work this morning. Way to make me wish i’d slammed on the brakes and caused an accident, Radley. Goddamn.

    1. Libertarian bumper stickers?

  2. In the press, this looks like it will come down to the word of the police against the word of an “drug addicted prostitute”. I think we know who to trust.

    Thanks Radley, for helping me never have to serve on a jury.

    1. I wish more people like you would do whatever it takes to GET on a jury.

  3. “They say they shot Ayers because he struck an officer with his car.”

    Even if that were true, isn’t that an act of revenge, rather than protecting public safety?

    I’m still totally unclear on what a normal human being is supposed to do when men with guns pour out of an unmarked SUV and charge at you. Do police think the standard response to this is to NOT try to run away?

    Do they believe that there is some sort of voodoo magic preventing criminals from shouting “police” just as easily as real police do?

    All of this could have been avoided if the police had simply calmly walked over to Ayers, in or out of uniform, and shown him a badge. But that wouldn’t be extreme sportsy enough, I guess.

    1. If armed people swarm out a vehicle, you’re supposed to give them your wallet and hope they don’t kill you.

      And as for criminals shouting “Police!”, it’s patently impossible. Cops go through WEEKS of training for that. Scumbag lowlifes don’t have the training required to pronounce the word properly, and it always comes out like “Po Lice!”.

  4. Drew, the correct and expected response from a civilian is to sit quietly and leave any action up to his or her betters in blue. Any other response will be taken as both overt threat and admission of guilt.

    1. And that holds whether the officer is wearing a uniform or jeans & a t-shirt, on duty or off, and driving a cruiser or personal car. Everyone else is simply supposed to know.

      Which always makes me wonder why they have “plainclothes” officers if the public is supposed to be able to identify them as police.

  5. C’mon, who are you going to believe? All those cops have exactly the same story!

  6. Even if that were true, isn’t that an act of revenge, rather than protecting public safety?

    Vengeance is a water vessel with a hole. It carries nothing but the promise of emptiness.

  7. And if you’re being rushed by heavily armed dudes with nothing that identifies them as cops… well, it’s better to remain passive and get robbed or killed than take a chance on inconveniencing an officer. You have to break a shitload of eggs to make an orderly omelet, after all.

  8. It’s too bad the cop he hit only had a couple bruises.

    1. I’m still praying for a blod clot to get into his brain.

  9. Giving Barrett the last of his cash would explain why Ayers stopped off at the Exxon ATM in the moments before his death.

    It’s sad that such a mundane act would even need to be explained.

  10. What specific “crime” were the ProtectAndServers investigating?
    Operating an unlicensed taxi service?

  11. I’m still totally unclear on what a normal human being is supposed to do when men with guns pour out of an unmarked SUV and charge at you.

    Well, the right response to an attack is to escalate the level of violence beyond the ability of your attacker to keep up with it.

    But cops consider themselves violently attacked by the very existence of any freely moving non-governmental entity, so they’re always a twitch away from murderously “retaliating” against you.

    It’s a stumper.

    I guess just know that men with guns pouring out of an unmarked SUV at you are always cops. No one else would do that. You don’t have another blundering assassination squad after you. But even a retarded assassin’s job is to kill you, and he’ll try. So if you find yourself in the situation this guy was in, floor it into the pumps. Something cool might happen.

  12. Anyone got a link to a police site covering this?

  13. Doing anything but obeying the cops, even if you have no reasonable way of confirming that they are cops, is sufficient for a death sentence. Got it.

  14. Things like this make me want to buy one of those bulletproof polo shirts. Or perhaps an entire wardrobe. But I’m sure they’re illegal…

    1. If said bullet-proof polo has a popped collar, it’s practically an invitation for a headshot.

  15. When cops kill people, they always say that they thought their lives were in danger. But cops also say that they put their lives in danger every time they go out on patrol. So really, if “lives in danger” is the standard, can’t they shoot anybody they want? After all, if the act of going out on patrol is what puts their lives in danger, then anything that happens is provocation enough to kill.

    If a cop shoots somebody, and it later turns out that the shooting was only partially “justified” (i.e., the person supposedly charges the cops, but it turns out they were unarmed and running for some legitimate reason), then the cop loses his badge for good. He doesn’t go to jail, he doesn’t get sued, but he can never be a cop again, anywhere. Decent, or no?

    1. Both fair and rational, Lamar. It has no chance of even being considered.

  16. When you see threatening hoods approaching you (and this includes the police), it might just be better to shoot first.

  17. Let’s try that again.

    If a cop shoots somebody, and it later turns out that the shooting was only partially “justified” (i.e., the person supposedly charges the cops, but it turns out they were unarmed and running for some legitimate reason), then the cop loses his badge for good. He doesn’t go to jail, he doesn’t get sued, but he can never be a cop again, anywhere. Decent, or no?

    No. My general rule, which has yet to be enacted anywhere, is that state actors should be held to a higher standard. Cop shoots somebody, and it’s not justified? Double whatever sentence one of us peasants would get.

    1. Now that makes real sense.

      1. Abuse of Authority should be the highest crime in the land.

  18. ?:
    You don’t have another blundering assassination squad after you.

    Man, I’m tearing up a little from that line.

  19. I hope to God his widow sues the department into oblivion.

  20. From laughter, that is.

  21. Cop shoots somebody, and it’s not justified?

    Death.

  22. T, while I agree with your sentiment 100%, there is unfortunately a collision between ideals and reality here. If we expect police to do their jobs, they need to be reasonably sure that doing what they think is right won’t end their life (I don’t mean being killed in the line of duty, I mean life in prison or execution for murder). If we implement your plan, the cops will be so afraid to shoot that they may not shoot when they should, and innocent lives will be lost.

    My proposed solution is to get rid of all special police powers. Any citizen should be able to act as “police”. The only difference between a normal citizen and a professional police officer would be the latter gets paid for doing it 8 hours a day, and the former does it on an as-needed basis. This yields the following solution to the shoot/don’t shoot problem: if I wouldn’t shoot, the cops shouldn’t shoot either. It also means you can arrest cops when they break the law, which I think nearly anyone can get behind. Too bad it will never be implemented.

  23. Some witnesses at the scene feared retaliation by the police if they talked to reporters on camera.

    http://www.wneg32.tv/index.php…..;Itemid=18

    In other news: “The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has reportedly finished its investigation but is awaiting results of crime scene analysis before issuing a finding.”

  24. I guess it’s a breach of religious decorum to ask God to kill/injure/roundly ruin someone, so I won’t be praying for that, but here’s hoping He has some holy retribution in mind. It’s probably our most realistic option, justice-wise.

  25. If we expect police to do their jobs, they need to be reasonably sure that doing what they think is right won’t end their life (I don’t mean being killed in the line of duty, I mean life in prison or execution for murder). If we implement your plan, the cops will be so afraid to shoot that they may not shoot when they should, and innocent lives will be lost.

    As opposed to the innocent lives we’re losing right now due to trigger happy cops? The police should be reluctant to shoot people. It should be a last resort to immediately protect life and limb, not a first resort because someone might get away. Hell, in most of the cases Radley tells us about, the cops shoot some guy during the process of trying to arrest him. When did an arrest warrant become an execution order?

  26. Radley, have you been following the James Chasse case in PDX?

    I bet the outcome in Georgia will be the same. What’s it going to take to get accountability from police?

    Chasse Investigation

  27. My sister-in-law is a devout, law and order Christian who watches Fox and supported the War on Drugs…until a PASTOR got shot. Her comment? “Well, maybe the cops were out of line.”

    Maybe?!

    1. Yeah, Mabey. Only God can judge for sure….

    2. Sounds like she would have sided with the Romans over Jesus. So far as I know, He hung out with hookers too.

    3. The Romans were fully justified. Jesus broke the law. The Law is The Law.

  28. They always “try to hit them with the car” and wind up dead.

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